Cinema: Quick Cuts

THE EFFECT OF GAMMA RAYS ON MAN-IN-THE-MOON MARIGOLDS. Adapted from Paul Zindel's 1971 Pulitzer-prizewinning play, this saga of a bitchy, boozy mother and the two daughters she victimizes is sentimental without really being tender, naturalistic without being real. The elder daughter (Roberta Wallach), a callipygous, gum-snapping high school cheerleader, suffers from epileptic seizures—presumably a result of life with mother. The younger, ethereal offspring (Nell Potts) escapes into the world of scientific research. She wins a prize for a school experiment concerning the supposed deleterious effects of gamma rays on sensitive marigolds: some survive, it seems, blooming beautifully. The parallel between flowers...

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