[Quick Summary: After his well-liked older brother dies, a teenage boy grapples with his feelings, his concerned father, & a bitter mother.]
I really like how this script resolves a household in hell.
In Act 3, Conrad (the son) has a significant breakthrough. The only thing left to wrap up is the subplot of the parents' rocky marriage.
- The husband sees Conrad healthy for the first time, & also sees that it's such a stark contrast to the wife's (antagonist) unrelenting indifference.
- The husband breaks down & weeps. He can't go back to the way things were.
- The wife tells Conrad she's leaving. She's bewildered & has no idea what really just happened.
- The wife breaks down in her bedroom. "She can't find safety [in her familiar surroundings]."
What a satisfying emotional ending! The good guys learned & grew.
The antagonist continues her superficial existence because she refused to learn or change.
WHAT I'VE LEARNED: When the protagonists are better off than when they started, it's a good day.
Ordinary People (1980)
by Alvin Sargent