The 1970s and ’80s were the heyday for ABC’s Afterschool Special anthology, a series of social-issue dramas meant to impart important lessons to younger viewers. Ordinary People—released in 1980—feels like an especially tony episode. (It won four Oscars, including Best Picture.) The film is an admirable argument for the legitimacy of psychotherapy, especially for the time, played out in an affluent Chicago suburb. Timothy Hutton plays Conrad, a struggling teen who’s recently back home from a hospital stay after attempting suicide. His father (Donald Sutherland) tiptoes around him when he’s not smothering him with smiles, while his mother (Mary Tyler Moore) maintains a grinning, brittle veneer. Conrad begins meeting with a therapist (Judd Hirsch), which brings about something his mother in particular finds alien and horrifying: feelings. The emotional landscape here is a bit simplistic, in that the story hinges on a tragic boating accident that left Conrad with an enormous amount of guilt. In other words, it conveniently attributes his depression to a single, triggering incident. But Moore in particular is excellent—there’s a devastating moment in which she prioritizes adjusting a vase over meeting Conrad’s plea for connection, just one of the small gestures that define her performance. In fact, Moore deserves a script that’s equally nuanced; in the end, she’s convicted as the clear villain, which is another easy narrative move. But what do I know—Alvin Sargent won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, working from a novel by Judith Guest. Also winning was Robert Redford for Best Director, though the interesting uses of the camera here are few and far between.