Terms of Endearment
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Based on the novel by Larry McMurtry (Lonesome Dove, The Last Picture Show), TERMS OF ENDEARMENT is a "family" film that deals with a 30-year relationship between a flighty mother and her headstrong daughter, played to perfection by Shirley MacLaine as Aurora Greenway, and Debra Winger as her daughter Emma Horton. The film begins by establishing the relatonship between the neurotic Aurora with her young daughter.
It makes you laugh and it makes you cry! Either way, the film deserves its kudos. Created by future SIMPSONS producer James L. Brooks, we see the emotional turmoil that both Aurora and Emma face in their love lives.
The cast consists of: Jack Nicholson, as Aurora's zany cosmonaut boyfriend Garrett Breedlove (a role originally intended for Burt Reynolds [YIKES!]), Jeff Daniels as Emma's philandering husband Flap Horton, John Lithgow as Emma's lover Sam Burns, and Danny DeVito, in a delightful cameo, as Vernon Dahlart.
After a while, though, the film does tend to drift a bit. You have to be patient considering that the final climax, in which Emma loses her fight with cancer, is the blow that sent me (and possibly millions of other viewers) into tears. Watch Aurora's face; watch Emma's, and you'll know exactly what they're saying without them even saying a word. Simply devastating!Read more ›
At the core this is the study of a very prickly mother daughter relationship, but it branches out to cover the men in their lives, friendships with other women, etc. The performances are just about universally superb. Some splashy and fun (Jack Nicholson, Shirley MacLaine), others just slightly lower key but still just slightly bigger than life in that good, movie way (Debra Winger), and still others are so simple and quiet they routinely get overlooked, but are little gems as well (Jeff Daniels, John Lithgow).
The film has a wonderful way of never going quite where you expect it, as it traces 30 years of life. Serious scenes turn funny, funny scenes end up making you cry, and no one ends up where they, or we, would have guessed. Especially in more recent, revisionist reviews, the film is often attacked for being sappy or melodramatic, but the older I get the more I see that life itself can be sappy and melodramatic, and if those elements are dealt with honestly they can translate real emotions, and can be part of a terrific film.
The only nit-pick I have is a few of the very small roles are clichés (e.g. the upper-class ‘young ladies’ Winger’s character meets in New York). But when that’s the worst you can find to say about a 130 minute film, you’re in a pretty great place. One hell of a feature debut for James L. Brooks.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great movie, one of my all time favorites. From when Hollywood was still making great movies.Published 21 days ago by Daniel
There is nothing I can say about this movie that hasn't already been said. It's simply a great movie. You can't get much better.Published 27 days ago by Laura Rennie
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