Monday, January 17, 2011

1983: Terms of Endearment

This film centers around Aurora and Emma, a mother and daughter who argue constantly about almost everything.  Emma marries a teacher named Flap, of whom Aurora disapproves, and has three children, of which Aurora also disapproves.  Then Aurora falls in love with the womanizing ex-astronaut next door and becomes a little more bearable, about the same time that Emma, suspecting Flap of being unfaithful, begins an affair with a banker.  Eventually, Emma finds out that she has cancer, which changes all the characters' perspectives on life.

I found this movie very annoying, and at first I didn't like it at all.  It's very smutty.  I generally don't mind a few sexual references in a movie if they're needed to enhance the plot, but all the sex in this film gets really old really fast.  That's all Emma and Flap do, and then when their relationship fizzles out it's because they're sleeping with other people.  And of course there's Aurora and the astronaut.  If the characters aren't having sex, they're talking about it.  But once Emma gets sick, the film turns a corner and becomes much more watchable.  It's interesting to see how everyone's priorities change when it's a matter of life and death.  I guess to a certain extent the beginning is necessary in order to appreciate the end, but I don't think it needs to be quite so excruciating.  My brother came in when the movie was half over and watched the rest of it with me, and he thought it was really good, and he can't understand why I didn't like it that much.  My overall impression is that this is merely an okay film with a pretty good ending.

Apparently some people really like Terms of Endearment, though, because it was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won 5, including Best Actress (Shirley MacLaine as Aurora) and Best Supporting Actor (Jack Nicholson as the astronaut).  Shirley MacLaine's character is really obnoxious, but I agree that her performance is fabulous.  Jack Nicholson, however, is really creepy (as usual), and I have no idea what Shirley MacLaine's character sees in him.  This film's screenplay also won an Oscar.  All in all I don't think the script is anything special, but there are a few fabulous lines here and there, which I'm pretty sure is the reason it won Best Adapted Screenplay.  So I can't truthfully say that I hate this movie, but it's not my favorite by any means.  It definitely didn't deserve to beat Tender Mercies for Best Picture, but nobody asked me.

Stay tuned for: Amadeus

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