Robert Redford's directorial debut, an adaptation of the Judith Guest best-seller, comes out with an emotional plea in favor of hugging. That practice, especially if done in fine cardigans, is seen as a balm to the psychological scars of a guilt-ridden teenage boy (Tim Hutton, who, like his father Jim, gives his facial muscles a real workout). The movie is rather nervous in its visual style and pettish in its attitude toward upper-middle-class prim-and-properness (embodied by the brittle Mary Tyler Moore), but a couple of needle-sharp subjective effects almost make the whole show worthwhile: the first being the boy's wounded feelings at a family photo-taking session, and the second being his disgust over the antics of his high-school peers at a McDonald's. The doleful Donald Sutherland as the father and husband is supposed to be not a bad guy, but the real hero of the piece is the warm Jewish psychiatrist (Judd Hirsch). His ministrations, rather pat as a dramatic device and rather idealized as a view of the profession, coax the teenager into a spectacular Freudian slip, prompting him to rise out of his chair, float to the window, and let flashing colored lights play on his face as he undergoes an earth-moving revelation. (1980) — Duncan Shepherd
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