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Film Reviews:  Joanne Woodward In Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds and Dr. Phil

It's interesting how shows I watch on TV correlate with each other.

For example, on Wednesday, February 26, 2003, the topic of Dr. Phil's show was of bullies and bullying and their effect on their victims.

How does this relate with the Gamma Rays movie?  Toward the end of the movie, Joanne Woodward's older daughter finds out that her mother was called "The loon."  The mother character has grown up in school with everyone calling her "crazy" and all kinds of other names.

It is obvious at the end of the movie that Woodward is somewhat of a "dreamer" as shown when she is talking to her neighbor at their backyards.  Her older daughter simply looks at her in silence.  So there is some substantiated evidence that the mother's character could have been seen as lunatic.

Still, with Dr. Phil's show, it is clear that victims of bullies and name calling, like Joanne Woodward's character, are deeply affected by such an environment in their youth.  

At the end of the movie, when Matilda, the younger daughter, wins the science contest, Woodward shows up late and makes a scene of how she hates the world by screaming at a snickering student whose science project was skinning a cat.  The girl who snickers is shown as cruel as evidenced by her science project.  This cruelty is also present in everyone and has negatively affected the mother.  She ends up hating the world and this can be partly explained by how she was treated by all the people around her who called her names.

When Gamma Rays was shown during its time period, public sentiment might have been different at the time the movie came out.  Possibly, audiences did see the mother character as a "loon" and so she was a mess because of it.

Today's audiences, especially if they watch Dr. Phil, can be more sympathetic toward this character.

The movie has a happy note at the end, however, when Matilda, sits at the front porch claiming how she doesn't hate the world like her mother does.  Why?  Because she views the world from a scientific perspective, as proven by her win at the science fair.  She is excited about atoms and how they are in everything and how this is a wonderful and beautiful thing and because of this view, she loves the world.

So the treatment of this "loon" character in this movie is well done.  It shows the character's downfall of "dreaming," the kind that disgusts the neighbor.  It also shows how one's "people" surroundings does affect a person during those early, formative years.

So Gamma Rays and Dr. Phil, for some reason, were two shows I watched on the same day that touched a topic from two different angles, artistically through the movies, and psychologically through Dr. Phil.


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