A middle-aged misfit struggles to raise her daughters, one popular and the other a promising science student, in this Paul Newman-directed adaptation of Paul Zindel's Pulitzer Prize winning ... Read allA middle-aged misfit struggles to raise her daughters, one popular and the other a promising science student, in this Paul Newman-directed adaptation of Paul Zindel's Pulitzer Prize winning play.A middle-aged misfit struggles to raise her daughters, one popular and the other a promising science student, in this Paul Newman-directed adaptation of Paul Zindel's Pulitzer Prize winning play.
*** 1/2 (out of 4)
It's a shame the silly sounding title will probably make most people overlook this film because it's an incredibly strong character study that deserves more attention. Joanne Woodward plays Beatrice, a widow trying to race two girls (Nell Potts, Roberta Wallach) in a world she feels is falling apart due to stupid people. What Beatrice doesn't realize is that the majority of problems in her life are due to herself and she can't seem to realize the damage that she's doing to her daughters. I must admit that I was shocked to see that Woodward didn't even got an Oscar-nomination for her performance here, which will go down in my book as one of the biggest injustices of all-time. Many people has called this performance one of the actresses greatest and many, including her husband and director of this film Paul Newman, have called it the greatest of her career. I'd probably go even further than that and call it one of the greatest performances by an actress that you're ever going to see. The amount of rage, passion and at times evilness within this performance is something truly amazing to watch and it's just breathtaking sitting back and watching Woodward work. She said that this was one of her most difficult roles because of having to play someone so depressing, bitter and angry but she perfectly nails all of it. I think calling this character crazy would be an easy way out because there's just so much to her and so much development that goes on. Just take a look at a sequence where she's trying to gather money for a tea-shop invention that she's came up with. Just watch the way she grows more and more frantic as the money trail starts to go away. Another terrific sequence again shows the character in a different way. There's a scene where the mother learns that her oldest daughter had done a skit about her at school for laughs. Again, just watch the way Woodward brilliantly plays it. The supporting performances are also very good with Newman and Woodward's real-life daughter Nell doing a nice job with the role of the youngest sister. Roberta Wallach, Eli's daughter, is also extremely strong in her bit as the one who suffers the most humiliation from the mother. I also thought Newman's direction was superb and it's easy to tell in the film's that he directed that he believed the acting was the most important thing to any movie. He doesn't throw any real style into the film and instead he just turns the camera on and let's the actors bring the film to life. THE EFFECT OF GAMMA RAYS ON MAN-IN-THE-MOON MARIGOLDS is a very silly title but the film is a real gem with one of the greatest performances you're likely to see.
- Sep 26, 2011