The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (1972)

The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Paul Newman produces and directs The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, based on the Pulitzer prize-winning play by Paul Zindel. Eccentric single mother Beatrice Hunsdorfer (Joanne Woodward) struggles to raise two daughters while plagued with depression, alcoholism, and financial difficulty. Her daughter Ruth (Roberta Wallach) is an epileptic teenage rebel following in the same path as her mother. However, the youngest daughter, Matilda (Nell Potts) doesn't share her family's … More

Rating: PG
Genre: Drama, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Paul Zindel, Alvin Sargent
In Theaters:
20th Century Fox


as Beatrice

as Matilda

as Mr. Goodman

as Mrs. McKay

as Junk Man

as Caroline

as Miss Hanley

as Janice Vickery

as Neighbor

as Apartment Manager

as Chris Burns

as Miss Wyant
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (5)

The talents of everyone connected with it are unmistakable, including those of Mr. Newman... It's just that the basic material calls for a kind of second-rate bravura performance from everyone, from the production designer to the actors.

Full Review… | January 14, 2014
New York Times
Top Critic

Sentimental without really being tender, naturalistic without being real.

Full Review… | January 14, 2014
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Newman and Woodward's daughter Potts steals the movie, but what makes it so watchable is Newman's reluctance to sentimentalise.

Full Review… | January 14, 2014
Time Out
Top Critic

Producer-director Paul Newman has made his finest behind-the-camera film to date in the screen version of Paul Zindel's play.

Full Review… | January 14, 2014
Top Critic

Joanne Woodward's performance is not like anything she's ever done before.

Full Review… | January 14, 2014
Top Critic

Joanne Woodward is superb.

Full Review… | January 14, 2014
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds

Another Family Affair by The Newman's: Joanne Woodward as Beatrice the Bitter Drunken Widow,Paul Newman Directing & Producing,& their Daughter, a Teenage Nell Potts as the shy & unhappy Science Nerd Daughter, Matilda.The Show Stealer though is clearly Eli Wallach's daughter, Roberta Wallach, who is the older Teenage Daughter,Ruth,who has Epilepsy & Sleep Walking Nightmare's, enhanced by by the repression of the Household of Hate.Roberta Wallach gives a few amazing angst filled performances. Forced to take in another Elderly Boarder after the other one dies in their home is just one of the the challenges that make for an unpleasant atmosphere for this Widow/Single Mother & her two Teenage Girls in a Cynical World that knows mostly sadness.The Outrageous, misleading title derives from Matilda(Nell Potts)'s Science Project & is a Metaphor for their life & how they can change it if they put a little effort into it.Excellent Performances all around, by Joanne Woodward, Nell Potts, but esp. Roberta Wallach

Had Woodward been as cynical, joyless, and venom-filled as the character she portrays, I seriously doubt her marriage would have lasted all these years. Interestingly enough, it is her husband who directed her through what amounts to a fine performance -- their daughter also plays Matilda, by the way. All of the roles in the film are demanding ones, so it's quite an accomplishment that the cast members turn in such authentic characterizations. Let's face it, Woodward has been much underrated as a film actress, and here she takes an unpleasant character and makes her someone that the audience cannot take its eyes off of. Hints are dropped about Beatrice's once promising future, which we can see for ourselves has never been realized. As a mother all she is capable of any longer is berating her daughters and generating more pitiful complaints. The daughters are a combination of youthful dreams and dread for an adulthood that is every bit as dank as their mother's present. Several signs suggest that Ruth is destined to become like her mother, and though both daughters' prospects remain intact when we last see them, it is sad-faced Matilda who seems destined to actually fulfill her promise.

Charles H.

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