• WARNING: Spoilers

    On the surface this film tells the disintegration of an upper-middle class family in Lake Forest, Illinois, following the death of the older son in a boating accident. In fact, in depth, it tells of the profound perverse narcissism of the mother, Beth (Mary Tyler Moore), who seeks success only in the social norm of appearances and their approval by hiding behind her mother status, and who, by being blind to the psychology and feelings of her family, has installed coldness of heart, superficiality of feelings and absence of empathy as the standard way of life, in her home. As she refuses to question herself and respond to the need for love around her, finally her husband Calvin (Donald Sutherland) will ask her to leave.

    The story is mainly told through the younger son, Conrad (Timothy Hutton), who suffers badly from the consequences of his mother's attitude and atmosphere in the family, by responding with guilt, depression and a suicide attempt, because, as a teenager, he does not have yet the tools to decipher this artificial superficiality and make the connections, until he is helped by a committed Dr Berger (Judd Hirsch) and finds his way out with his father.