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 ... 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The play was originally produced in Houston in 1964. The movie version filmed in 1972, directed by Paul Newman and starred his wife, Joanne Woodward , and his daughter Elinor (Nell Potts). Woodward won the award for Best Actress at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival. See more »
This film captures with unflinching accuracy the anguish caused to a family by a parent with a severe alcohol problem. However alcohol abuse is just one symptom displayed by this particular family unit which is struggling to survive economically disastrous times, from a severely disadvantaged position. The daughter's school science project "The Effect Of Gamma Rays On Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds" mirrors the ongoing American social experiment of economic rationalism.
Joanne Woodward's character Beatrice is not evil, though she does some of the most cruel and demeaning things imaginable to her children. I believe that it's a great credit to both the playwright and director that we are able to develop empathy for her in spite of these actions. Much of what has happened to Beatrice in life has been out of her control, and yet she struggles to support her family and she holds desperately to hope of a highly unlikely avenue of economic escape (an as yet unformulated cheesecake recipe).
This is one of the most demanding, highly impacting and yet compulsive films I've seen. It's a window to the interpersonal relationships of good people who are struggling to respond with vigour to a system that delineates winners and losers.
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