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1980 Directorial Debut of Actor Robert Redford

An interesting comment is made by Calvin that neither Beth nor Conrad cried at BuckĂs funeral. Conrad attempts to deal with his depression and grief by entering psychotherapy with the psychiatrist Dr. Berger (Judd Hirsch), and as his mental and emotional state improves, he tries to get closer to his parents. His father also starts to see Dr. Berger and eventually makes a genuine connection with Conrad. But his mother refuses to go into therapy, and continues to angrily reject Conrad, as well as growing angrier with her husband.

Calvin tries to intercede between Beth and Conrad, hoping to make Beth understand how much her son needs her. He tells Beth, ˘He (Conrad) just wants to know that you donĂt hate him.÷ Beth replies, ˘Hate him! How could I hate him? Mothers donĂt hate their sons! Is that what he told you? You see how you believe everything he tells you? And you canĂt do the same for me, you canĂt! God, I donĂt know what anyone wants from me anymore!÷ This scene portrays a woman in great emotional stress and denial.

BethĂs rejection of son and husband may be viewed as a flight from an unresolved emotional attachment that she refuses to confront (Peterson & Nisenholz 224). Moore shows BethĂs pain as well as her anger, but she is unable to release her feelings and communicate honestly with her husband and son. It is obvious that Beth and Calvin were not getting along well even before the death of Buck. Perhaps because of this, she doted on her favorite son, Buck, and so losing him made her life more unhealthy. BethĂs inability to be the nurturing family member is very well portrayed, and Moore shows that Beth could not change. Perhaps if she entered therapy, she could be helped, but Beth will not let her defenses down.

Toward the end of the movie, Calvin tells Beth that he doesnĂt know if he still loves her because of her coldness, and withdrawal from Conrad, and her open hostility toward Conrad and


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1980 Directorial Debut of Actor Robert Redford. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 19:33, August 31, 2016, from
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