From the Pullizer Prize winning play by Paul Zindel, this is the story of Beatrice Hunsdorfer and her daughters, Ruth and Matilda. A middle-aged widowed eccentric, Beatrice is looking for ...
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Rachel is a 35 year old school teacher who has no man in her life and lives with her mother. When a man from the big city returns and asks her out, she begins to have to make decisions about her life and where she wants it to go.
Rita, a middle aged New York City homemaker, finds herself in an emotional crisis which forces her to re-examine her life, as well as her relationships with her mother, her eye doctor ... See full summary »
Three stories about the pleasure. The first one is about a man hiding his age behind a mask to keep going to balls and fancying women - pleasure and youth. Then comes the long tale of Mme ... See full summary »
From the Pullizer Prize winning play by Paul Zindel, this is the story of Beatrice Hunsdorfer and her daughters, Ruth and Matilda. A middle-aged widowed eccentric, Beatrice is looking for her life in the classified ads while all about her is the rubble of an unkempt house. All she needs is the right opportunity, she says puffing on a cigarette. Poorly equipped to survive the vagaries of modern life, she has nonetheless always managed to muddle through. Ruth, epileptic and making her way through the rebellious phase of adolescence, seems doomed to make the same mistakes as her mother. Quiet Matilda, on the other hand, seeks refuge in her animals and her schoolwork. "Jesus, don't you hate the world, Matilda?" Beatrice asks her youngest daughter. The title of the film is also the subject of Matilda's science project at school and serves as a metaphor for the way life affects each of us differently -- how some are able to find opportunity in adversity and thrive and how some succumb when ... Written by
Mark Fleetwood <email@example.com>
Certain dialog from Paul Zindel's play remained in the script for the movie. Even though the movie was filmed in Bridgeport, Connecticut, certain references to the location of the play, which takes place in Staten Island, New York (Zindel's hometown) remain. Ruth mentions "Prince's Bay" when reading a classified ad about some property for sale, and Matilda tells her mother that a photographer is going to take pictures of the Science Fair finalists for "The Advance". Prince's Bay is a neighborhood located on the South Shore of Staten Island, and the Staten Island Advance is the local newspaper. See more »
When Beatrice arrives at her sister-in-law Caroline's house, we see Caroline and her three bridge-playing friends in one shot. Later, when Beatrice yells at her brother-in-law through the bathroom door, we see the three ladies a second time in a reaction shot. Only one of them appears in both shots, although wearing a different outfit each time. The other two card-playing friends were played by different extras in each shot. See more »
I'm not exactly happy about you standing around, discussing testicles with this Chris Burns person, either!
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The old saw "there are no guarantees in life" is given a sad example in this film, wherein we find Joanne Woodward, widowed mother of two, slipping through the cracks of her own life with her daughters in tow. Through a bleary haze of booze-soaked self-defeat, she commands change in her life but is unwilling(and/or possibly unable)to grab the reins. Woodward's performance is sterling...unrestrained, though not at all hammy. Her character is initially entirely unlikable, though in the end, she has found a place in the pity-corner of our hearts...she is a fragile and vulnerable soul who has tragically broken into many virulent and dejected pieces.
For people who enjoy strong character studies, THE EFFECT OF GAMMA RAYS is a dexterously directed must-see mini-classic. Understand, though, that it is quite emotionally daunting, and may touch a bit too close to home for certain viewers...a stark and brutally honest portraiture of human wreckage and its many damaging effects. Beneath the downcast surface, however, lies a glint of optimism in the form of the younger daughter's quiet perseverance...although she suffers, she has a strong constitution and will likely overcome her emotionally malnourished upbringing.
Stellar cinema. 8.5/10
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