Angry Boy.

This is one of the best and most intelligent films about "children's problems" that I've seen. 10-year-old Tommy steals money out of his teacher's purse. The principal, rather than punishing him, believes he is psychologically troubled, so he encourages his mother to take him to a local child guidance clinic for psychotherapy. There he works with a compassionate psychotherapist, while his mother receives counseling from a social worker. It is revealed that Tommy's family is troubled––his mom is a control freak who orders her husband and son around, his dad is overworked and under the thumb of his mom, and if that wasn't bad enough, his maternal grandmother lives in the home and bosses his mom around and gives snide remarks to all (gee I wonder where Mom got her control freak tendencies?). Tommy is a quiet kid who internalizes everything, and he has built up a rage about his family situation that expresses itself in misbehavior at school. Fortunately, mom is highly motivated to improve things in the family, and between her therapeutic progress and Tommy's, things gradually get better. I particularly like the scenes of psychotherapy sessions between Tommy and his therapist. Although staged, they seem quite realistic, and you can understand why Tommy grows to like his therapist eventually. The family scenes also have an air of reality about them. Like Activity Group Therapy, this film gives us a glimpse of 50s mental health practices, though this is a lot easier to buy into than the other film.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: *****.

Better Reading

Better Reading . Teenager Harold Wilson has a problem—he can’t read for (expletive deleted). So he has to spend all his free time studying ...