Friday, June 03, 2011

Terms of Endearment (1983)

Terms of Endearment was a charming film about a strong mother daughter relationship. In it a southern mother struggles to let go of her only daughter after her marriage to a man the mother calls “unimaginative.” The movie spans the births of three grandchildren and then the unthinkable happens: the daughter gets terminal cancer. Reconciliations and last interactions were heart wrenching but realistically played.

I loved the dynamic between Shirley McClain and Debra Winger and their juxtapositions despite their closeness add to the interesting dynamics of the film. The plot itself is very soap opera-esc but the natural dialogue creates more of a connection to the audience. The quirks are realistic and so are the situations, the jobs, the outcomes. It’s kind of like if the movie Ordinary People but if the charactersa were more likable.

Shirley McClain won an Oscar for her part and Jack Nicholson won his first Oscar for best supporting Actor. He plays a successful suitor to McClain’s character: an alcoholic playboy astronaut who eventually wins the old southern bell’s heart by accident. I expected Jack Nicholson to steal the show but while I loved his performance, my real attachment to the film was in Debra Winger’s affair with John Lithgow. He was so earnest and likable in this part, I wished he had been a bigger part of the movie.

This movie was really worth seeing; it often gets labeled as a chick flick for lack of explosions but I definitely feel it has enough serio-comedic humor to weather a male viewer.

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