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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7.4/10
49,116

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  • Jack Nicholson and Shirley MacLaine in Terms of Endearment (1983)
  • Shirley MacLaine in Terms of Endearment (1983)
  • Jack Nicholson and Shirley MacLaine in Terms of Endearment (1983)
  • Debra Winger in Terms of Endearment (1983)
  • Debra Winger and Jeff Daniels in Terms of Endearment (1983)
  • Shirley MacLaine in Terms of Endearment (1983)

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30 November 2002 | moonspinner55
8
| Quirky characters who eventually grow on you
The shifty, funny/serious tone of "Terms Of Endearment" caught a lot of people off guard in 1983 and word-of-mouth about it being a seriously good tearjerker/comedy was strong (opening near Christmas probably didn't hurt it come Oscar time either!). But since then, TV sitcoms have been mining this kind of flippant, edgy, raw sense of dynamics ("Roseanne" comes to mind), and "Terms" doesn't seem as fresh. Watching it again the other night, I couldn't help feeling some of the juice was missing, or that Shirley MacLaine's Aurora Greenway was actually more of an irritant than a sympathetic harridan. But on closer inspection, the lives of these characters are quite endearing, and the tender music on the soundtrack always underlines a poignant scene at just the right moment. Vivid Debra Winger is incredible as MacLaine's daughter, as are John Lithgow, Jeff Daniels, Jack Nicholson and, in a small but telling part, Danny DeVito. As for MacLaine, I think she makes a few missteps in her characterization, and I didn't like the scene where she leaves her own birthday party in a huff and finds herself at Nicholson's door--it feels put on--or her famous scene with Jack driving on the beach, which is highly improbable. However, her determined will and loving possessiveness/detachment towards her daughter makes her a complicated and colorful bundle of nerves. The picture is flawed, yet has scenes of worth and love, many memorable lines of dialogue, and shows a real skill for balancing different moods. *** from ****

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Genres

Comedy | Drama

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