Terms of Endearment (1983)

PG   |    |  Comedy, Drama

Terms of Endearment (1983) Poster

Follows hard-to-please Aurora looking for love, and her daughter's family problems.


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25 August 2019 | bkoganbing
| Mother & Daughter
Terms Of Endearment is a story of what happens when life does not go as planned and how you deal with it. In one way or another we are flawed humans, but most of us can rise to the occasion if the situation calls for it. It gained an Oscar at last for Shirley MacLaine and a second for Jack Nicholson though in the Supporting character category.

The story stretches out over a 30 year period and it starts with the death of MacLaine's husband early on and she's left to raise her daughter on her own. As the daughter who grows up to be Debby Winger the two fight constantly. She really doesn't approve of her choice of husband Jeff Daniels who is a struggling academic who in the course of the movie has several teaching positions and rises slowly in his profession. Not fast enough for MacLaine. She reminds me of Madge Wallace the mother-in-law of Harry S. Truman who never thought her son-in-law would amount to anything. She died in the White House just before the Trumans left for Independence permanently.

Winger has three children, but she's beset by doubts about Daniels's infidelity as he does have nubile coeds all about. Both of them misread signals about each other and MacLaine's hectoring doesn't help.

As for Shirley, her neighbor is a retired astronaut Jack Nicholson who is still looking for space groupies. He's an unlikely candidate to thaw MacLaine out, but they find out they have more in common than they think. And Nicholson has more character than we first suspect.

Terms Of Endearment is a film that places people who are very much like the people who pay to see this film in real universal situations we can all understand. Not hard to understand how this became such a critical and popular hit.

Terms Of Endearment won for Best Picture in 1983 and Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay for James Brooks. It got a flock more nominations as well. It's an enduring classic and will remain so.

The finale with MacLaine is sublimely beautiful.

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