Quick recap: Terms of Endearment follows the 30 year relationship between a mother and daughter. When something bad-DAMMIT. I can’t do this. Damn you all to hell, Terms of Endearment. Evil incarnate is what this movie is.
Fun (?) fact: As a gift for directing the movie, Matt Groening gave James L. Brooks a book of ‘Life in Hell’ cartoons. Brooks loved it so much, he got Groening to create cartoon shorts for the Tracy Ullman show. And that’s how The Simpsons was created!
My thoughts: Before I go any further, I need to confess that yes, I did in fact cry. I’m not proud of it, but at least I fought hard until the very end. As you can probably pick up on, I’m not the most sensitive when it comes to schmaltzy things. Anything Nicholas Sparks makes me physically ill as well as movie theaters that have ‘girlie nights’. UGH. I mean, if you want to show Ferris Bueller, DO IT. Don’t label it ‘girlie night’ and slap on some discount wine special with the purchase of sushi. It cheapens the film and isolates a good portion of moviegoers who would’ve gladly gone otherwise. /rant
Back to the movie. If this film has any strength to stand up to other Oscar Winners, it does so with the strong acting. Every actor was believable which is probably why I was able to suspend my hatred for anything cheesy and let myself be free with my emotions. I absolutely loved Shirley MacLaine (damn you, James L. Brooks for making me love Shirley MacLaine). Debra Winger grew on me as the movie went on, but her laugh never did. I read that she was trying to get over a cocaine addiction while filming so I don’t feel so bad. Jack Nicholson of course was wonderful as well, but this ‘arrogant jerk who turns out to be a good guy’ is kind of his thing.
For all the ‘girlies’ who came here to read a gushing review of the film that totally destroyed their every emotion, it’s time to stop reading.
I was into the mother/daughter relationship from the beginning because I am a daughter who happens to be close to her mom. I totally got the endless phone calls and how much they shared with each other. The entire relationship seemed completely authentic, even leading up to Emma’s death. (Oops. SPOILER ALERT: Emma dies.) The plot started to fall apart towards the end as Emma got closer and closer to death. For one thing, making the decision as to who would keep the children seemed way over the top. Maybe that was a thing back then, but Flap was a perfectly decent father. He should’ve just sucked it up and raised his own children instead of pawning them off to Aurora so that he could continue his love affair with that other woman. Then again, that would’ve saved like 10 minutes of drama. The last 30 minutes of the film is basically, ‘are you crying yet? no? Let me put in a scene where Emma says goodbye to her children! That didn’t do it? How about Aurora screaming at the nurses to help her daughter who was in pain? No? Dammit. You are totally going to cry when Emma actually dies. There we go! Just in case, let’s add a few more scenes to keep you crying.’
Final review: 4/5. You couldn’t make me sit through that again, though.
Up Next: All About Eve