An poorly-educated house-wife fights companies polluting her hometown's water-table in up-state New York during the 1970's.An poorly-educated house-wife fights companies polluting her hometown's water-table in up-state New York during the 1970's.An poorly-educated house-wife fights companies polluting her hometown's water-table in up-state New York during the 1970's.
Lois Gibbs never expected to be living the American Dream at 24 years of age, able to afford to live in a home in the seemingly perfect suburb of Love Canal, Niagara Falls. Still, life isn't going so great, her kids and neighbors are falling ill and she has no idea why, until she learns of the sinister secret lurking underground, a cover-up from a chemical factory that buried several tonnes of hazardous waste underground there during the 1940's. After discovering she's living right on top of a toxic waste dump, Lois attempts to stand up for the rights of the citizens of Love Canal, but finds it difficult to get anyone to listen. —GasmaskProductionsBooks
Under-appreciated TV-movie starring a first-rate actress...
When Marsha Mason stopped making movies on a regular basis (television or otherwise), the world of cinema lost a great natural dramatic resource: feisty, fiery, forthright, and intensely human, Mason gets down to the grit of her characters and makes them approachable, companionable. This troubling true story about an ordinary, under-educated housewife in late-1970s Niagara Falls, New York--who almost accidentally became the spearhead of a revolt by the people against the government and chemical companies who were dumping toxins into their water supply--really needs Mason's spirit to get it over the proverbial red tape and academic detail. The teleplay has been conceived in such didactic terms that every scene plays like another chapter in a medical journal, with one human calamity landing atop another. Lois Gibbs started out fighting for one sick child, and ended up defending family, friends, neighbors, and strangers. She emerges as a true heroine, though this film about her uphill struggle is balky, occasionally talky, and visually ungainly. It also features a barrage of stubborn characters who are nearly rendered unbelievable by their dialogue (such as Gibbs' own husband who, upon hearing a litany of chemical-related travesties described in the newspaper, chalks it all up to media sensationalism!). Nevertheless, an emotionally gripping document in the David-and-Goliath vein, thanks in no small part to Mason's well-displayed heart and courage.
- May 31, 2009
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