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
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
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
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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