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'night, Mother [VHS] (1986)

Sissy Spacek , Anne Bancroft , Tom Moore  |  PG-13 |  VHS Tape
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Sissy Spacek, Anne Bancroft, Ed Berke, Carol Robbins, Jennifer Roosendahl
  • Directors: Tom Moore
  • Writers: Marsha Norman
  • Format: Color, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Universal Studios Home Video
  • VHS Release Date: April 18, 2000
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6300185850
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #384,618 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Sissy Spacek Drama

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What would you do... July 22, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
...if your forty-something daughter told you that she was preparing to kill herself?
The entire movie revolves around a rather maudlin day in which Jesse, played by Sissy Spacek, informs her mother, portrayed by Anne Bancroft, that she plans to take her own life that very evening. No amount of pleading, commiserating, or lamenting on the part of her mother can dissuade this resolute woman from her grim task, which she delays long enough to spend the day and evening with her. The day progresses, and their discussions progress deeper and deeper into Jesse's past, though Jesse never does truly reveal just why she has decided to end her life.
Her mother alternates between resolve and horror, but never calls for help. And at the end, Jesse ignores her mother's frantic pleas, and succeeds.
As the credits scroll, one is left with a profound sense of loss, having watched and become familiar with Sissy's character in the course of the movie.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerhouse Performances January 4, 2010
Format:DVD
It's a shame that "'Night, Mother" (1986) isn't currently available on DVD in a U.S.-friendly format. Adapted by Marsha Norman from her own Pulitzer Prize-winning stage drama, the film stars Anne Bancroft as Thelma Cates and Sissy Spacek as her daughter Jessie, who basically has to run her mother's life. About ten minutes in, Jessie matter-of-factly reveals that this will change, because she's decided to shoot herself on this particular night. She does not immediately disclose why. The remainder of the film consists of Jessie calmly explaining to Thelma how to manage her own affairs, while Thelma goes through a rainbow of emotions trying to come to terms with her daughter's decision.

Norman and director Tom Moore have done little to open up this story from its stage origins. The camera never really leaves the house, and except from a distance or over a phone, we never hear or see anyone else besides these two characters. The filmic claustrophobia might have been intentional, however, as a visual punctuation of Jessie's cramped existence, and at any rate it's a small gripe when balanced against the tour-de-force acting that we get to witness. It would be difficult to overrate Spacek, who has now spent 40 years giving one amazing performance after another, while Bancroft was always a bit underrated, too often labeled as simply a gifted comedienne. She was much more, and this film offers abundant proof. As we watch her navigate a tidal wave of emotional highs and lows, swinging from anger to frustration to hope to reproof in an effort to change Jessie's mind, her talent is such that we feel ourselves riding the wave right along with her.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prepare to kill yourself? June 19, 2000
By turtley
Format:VHS Tape
I would really have liked to have seen this performed live. Nevertheless, beautifully adapted and performed. An unhappy epileptic woman pragmatically prepares to kill herself and puts all her affairs in order. Her mother tries to (unconvincingly) convince her not to do it. The mother has stupid arguements, you wait and wait and wait for her mother to say "I LOVE YOU DON'T DO IT". Compelling, heart breaking and beautifully dark.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Movie!! January 22, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
I just happened to watch this movie for the first time on television about 8 years ago and loved it immediately. It was televised again and I made sure to tape it. When watching this movie you cannot help but get engrossed in the lives of Jessie and Thelma Cates. The performances by Sissy Spacek and Anne Bancroft are convincing and powerful. I will admit that "'Night, Mother" is a sad story, but it's also very interesting. By the end you feel as though you're a part of the Cates family, and feel the pain as Thelma comes to terms, but not quite, with her daughter's suicide. I would highly recommend this movie!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well, Well, Well April 10, 2002
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
Well written, Well acted, Well cast. If you like Sissy..you'll love this.. I did. Should contain a warning label CAUTION: DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE WITH ANYTHING LESS THAN A FULL BOX OF TISSUE AT HAND.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intensely moving October 25, 1999
Format:VHS Tape
Being the mother of 3children and a divorcee and having experienced the same depths of unhappiness that Jesse has I could feel her despair and her ultimate desire to bring an end to her pain. The pathos of an ill mother trying to save her daughter's life is extremely touching. The ending is magnificent.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Movie September 29, 2004
By Marsha
Format:VHS Tape
This movie is a sleeper. No one has really heard of it, but it is one of my all time favorites.

The acting is unbelievable. I think I saw this movie about 15 years ago for the first time, and I became an Ann Bancroft fan after viewing this fabulous, but dark, movie.

No need for synopsis, others have done that here, but if you want to indulge in a great character study movie, try this one. It's quite a 'roller coaster' ride, with no car chases, no buildings blown up, no gore. Simply two women, a mother and daughter, conversing for the span of one evening. The movie is sad, the acting is fantastic, and the plot so different from anything you have ever seen before, you will be entralled.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intense, moving, and shocking. March 6, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
A young woman, Sissy Spacek, decides that she's had enough of how her life is going, she is desperately unhappy and wants to, as she says it herself, get off the bus early [bus as meaning get out of living] and instead she decides to shoot herself. Her mother only party aware of this has a whole night to stop her daugther from accomplishing her plan while also for the first time they get to know each other better. Both actresses give brilliant performances and you will feel the mother's anguish and confusion, as you will grasp the daugther having honest firm resolution. Great film, remarkable story.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't watch it
Movie came fast, but I didn't pay attention to the fact that it was VHS. I don't have a VHS player, so I never watched it. Donated it to library.
Published 17 months ago by jen
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad but important
I use this movie as a teaching guide about suicide for psych students; I only wish I could get a DVD
Published 17 months ago by Lorraine Tafoya
5.0 out of 5 stars Your money's worth
This DVD is really worth every penny I paid for it, not only did it come at a very oportune time when delivered, I had looked for it for years.
Published on May 31, 2010 by Pablo A. Santos Jimenez
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint of heart
Read some of the other reviews and you'll know the basis of the story. But this kind of film is not for everyone. The story line is difficult to say the least. Read more
Published on November 1, 2008 by J. Terry
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb and riveting performances!
I am usually very apprehensive to watch movie versions of theatre plays, and it is rare that a performance is pulled off to perfection. This was it! Read more
Published on October 27, 2008 by ⚫ RIZZO ⚫
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Movie!
This movie was very disturbing yet it was fantastic! This movie also looked into Mother-Daughter relationships. Have your tissue ready because this is a tear jerker!
Published on July 26, 2008 by E. Lewis
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling Psycho-drama
Who better than Sissy Spacek and Anne Bancroft to depict the doomed mother and daughter in this incredibly well-drawn drama? Read more
Published on August 21, 2007 by Cathleen M. Walker
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Film about a Hard Subject
I teach Education Profession in which I work with high school students who want to explore the teaching profession. Read more
Published on May 14, 2007 by E. Begody
4.0 out of 5 stars Dead Is Dead Quiet: A Flawed But Memorable Film Version Of The...
Written for the stage by Marsha Norman, 'NIGHT, MOTHER opened on Broadway in 1983 with Anne Pitoniak and Kathy Bates in the roles of Thelma and Jessie Cates. Read more
Published on February 1, 2007 by Gary F. Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars it's a movie to watch!
love the movie hard to find but thanxs to amazon .com not a problem very excellent movie to watch alot of brain thought to it thanxz again alma adame
Published on January 18, 2007 by Alma R. Adame
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DVD format
This is a Must-See Film and I think it deserves it's time on DVD for those that never had the chance to see it. I keep looking and am crossing my fingers that someday we will have the DVD in hand.
Mar 5, 2007 by Richard L. Erford |  See all 5 posts
widescreen for u.s., please! Be the first to reply
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