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.
Pitch black comedy about a young nihilistic New Yorker coping with pervasive urban violence, obscene phone calls, rusty water pipes, electrical blackouts, paranoia and ethnic-racial conflict during a typical summer of the 1970s.
A couple uses extremely black comedy to survive taking care of a daughter who is nearly completely brain dead. They take turns doing the daughter's voice and stare into the eyes of death ... 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>
The original New York production of "The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds" by Paul Zindel with Sada Thompson as Beatrice opened off-Broadway on April 7, 1970 at the Mercer Arts Center and ran for 819 performances. Mr. Zindel received the 1971 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for the work. Ms. Thompson was succeeded in the role by Joan Blondell, Carolyn Coates, Cathryn Damon and Mary Hara. A subsequent Broadway production with Shelley Winters as Beatrice opened on March 14, 1978 at the Biltmore Theater and ran for 16 performances. 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 »
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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