Cinema: Rushes: Oct. 6, 1986


The structure of Marsha Norman's Pulitzer-prizewinning play was pure melodrama. An unhappy fortyish woman announces to her mother that she intends to take her own life that evening; the older woman tries many stratagems to avert the plan but fails in all of them. Improbable as this plot was, it permitted Norman to explore with sensitivity a dramatically less riveting, emotionally more subtle matter: an archetypally vexatious mother-daughter relationship. In adapting play to screen, Norman and Director Tom Moore have been somewhat undone by their new medium's imperatives. The realism of camera close-ups turns probability into utter implausibility. And...

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