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

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Total Count: 8


Audience Score

User Ratings: 521
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Movie Info

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Paul Zindel, this is a joint effort of husband and wife team Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman. Produced and directed by Newman, Woodward portrays the eccentric young widow who is raising her two disparate daughters in an atmosphere of bitterness, hatred and over-protection that threatens their very growth and development. Embittered and misandristic, she raises her daughters in an atmosphere of hate that leaves them as depressed and neurotic as she is. The title of the movie comes from her anger at her daughter's science teacher for encouraging her to expose marigolds to gamma rays as a science project. Her experiment shows how radiation sometimes kills growing marigolds, but sometimes it causes them to grow even more beautiful. This experiment becomes a metaphor for her own life, as she struggles to bloom in a household deadened by her mother's alcoholism and her sister's lethargy.


Nell Potts
as Matilda
David Spielberg
as Mr. Goodman
Carolyn Coates
as Mrs. McKay
Will Hare
as Junk Man
Estelle Omens
as Caroline
Debra Lynn Rogers
as Miss Hanley
Ellen Dano
as Janice Vickery
Roger Serbagi
as Neighbor
John Lehne
as Apartment Manager
Michael Kearney
as Chris Burns
Dee Victor
as Miss Wyant
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Critic Reviews for The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds

All Critics (8) | 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.

    Jan 14, 2014 | Full Review…
  • Sentimental without really being tender, naturalistic without being real.

    Jan 14, 2014 | Full Review…
  • Newman and Woodward's daughter Potts steals the movie, but what makes it so watchable is Newman's reluctance to sentimentalise.

    Jan 14, 2014 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    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.

    Jan 14, 2014 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

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

    Jan 14, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Newman wisely gets out of Woodward's way, who delivers a tour-de-force performance that remains one of the most fully realized and painfully destructive mothers in cinematic history.

    Jun 3, 2019 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

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

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