Starring: Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler
Director: Robert Redford
Year of Release: 1980
Video Release Date: January 30, 1996
Teenaged Conrad is plagued with guilt for having
survived a boating accident that killed his older brother.
Worse yet, his mother is seething with anger over the loss,
which she conceals beneath a cold, placid exterior. She struggles
to hide the fact that she feels the wrong son lived. Meanwhile,
Conrad’s dad loves him and his mother, but is paralyzed
by fear and is useless in intervening. Following a suicide
attempt, with the help of a psychiatrist, Conrad begins the
slow and painful process of healing. But his progress also
forces his parents to face the unspoken feelings that divide
Notice how Conrad is struggling with his survivor
guilt after his brother died in their boating accident. He
finally overcomes his guilt when he is able to truly feel
his grief and despair and to acknowledge that he might have
been stronger than his brother.
- Do you believe that you cannot let go
of your guilt? (By using the word “guilt” here,
I am referring to “feelings of guilt” that are
not based on being guilty of a serious misbehavior. You may
know the difference rationally, intuitively, or after you
have heard at least one well-meaning friend tell you: ”You
should not feel guilty about this.”
- Do you think Conrad misperceives himself as being guilty?
- Do you remember a time in your life when you were able to
let go of feelings of guilt?
- Imagine how you would feel, if you were free of this guilt
- If this was possible and you don’t think Conrad is
guilty, do you consider that you might have the capacity to
release your guilt now?
- How you would feel, if you were free of guilt?