How tragedy can destroy what was once a seemingly perfect family is exquisitely realized in this heartbreaking drama. As the story begins, we are placed in the middle of a family in the affluent surroundings of Lake Forest, Illinois. They’re struggling to come to terms with the death of their oldest son in a boating accident roughly a year after the fact. Flawless ensemble piece is a stunning achievement of acting. Timothy Hutton, in his film debut, won the Academy Award as the guilt ridden younger son who cannot absolve himself from the responsibility he feels over the incident. Donald Sutherland matches him as the passive father unable to keep his family from unraveling right before our eyes. But the most startling performance of all was that of Mary Tyler Moore as Beth Jarrett who seems more concerned with keeping the facade of a stable family life than dealing with the inner demons of her younger son. It is a shocking cast against type to anyone familiar with the personality on her TV shows. The somber mood is most affecting because the raw emotion of these characters is brutally real. We share an intimacy with these people. Rarely has the aftermath of a child’s death been handled with such honesty.