Directed by James L. Brooks
Nominated for 11 Oscars, Won 5
Up Against: The Big Chill, The Dresser, The Right Stuff, Tender Mercies
Terms of Endearment is a mother-daughter story. Aurora lost her husband when her only daughter Emma was a young girl. It's been the two of them for most of Emma's life. When Aurora tells Emma, the night before her wedding, that marrying her fiancee, Flap, will be a catastrophic mistake, things get tense for the two. Emma marries Flap while her mother doesn't attend the wedding, and the two move away because Flap gets a job teaching English at a university.
During their time living apart, we follow their 2 different stories. Aurora is on her own, living with only herself and a maid or two. She strikes up an extremely unlikely relationship with her drunken, womanizing, ex-astronaut neighbour, despite the fact that she is prim, proper and strict, hardly able to tolerate his (Garrett's) ways. Meanwhile, Emma and Flap are having troubles of their own. They now have several kids, and are short on money. Emma starts to expect Flap is cheating, while she goes out into a little affair herself.
The movie doesn't have a plot, exactly. This is a movie about life, and the struggles and joys within them. Both Debra Winger (Emma) and Shirley MacLaine (Aurora) give fantastic performances. Debra Winger as the awkward and headstrong daughter, and Shirley MacLaine as the prim, proper and harsh mother. Also, both Jack Nicholson and Jeff Daniels give great supporting performances.
While I don't usually spoil reviews, this one I can't really help. The last half hour, when Emma is in a bad position with Flap and her children (her eldest son seems to really hate her), but having a decent relationship with her mother, she discovers she has cancer- and is dying. This would've been a much more moving bit if I'd known the characters and cared for them more than I did. But I didn't. And that's just why the movie almost worked for me, but not quite.
Music – 7.5/10
Emotional Connection- 6/10
Overall Enjoyment- 6.5/10
Overall Package- 6.5/10