Ted Kramer's wife leaves her husband, allowing for a lost bond to be rediscovered between Ted and his son, Billy. But a heated custody battle ensues over the divorced couple's son, deepening the wounds left by the separation.
Aurora and Emma are mother and daughter who march to different drummers. Beginning with Emma's marriage, Aurora shows how difficult and loving she can be. The movie covers several years of their lives as each finds different reasons to go on living and find joy. Aurora's interludes with Garrett Breedlove, retired astronaut and next door neighbor are quite striking. In the end, different people show their love in very different ways. Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Wow was my first reaction to seeing the film back in February 2003. I had bought it on a whim and watched it one night when I was bored. The rest is history. Terms remains one of my favorite films and I really can't say why. Reputation has made this out to be "the ultimate chick flick" upon which every other tear-jerker is judged. But it's definitely more of a character study than a weepy mushy movie. In fact, it's anything but mushy. Where it could of been over-sentimental, it was poignant. Where it could of been boring, it was insightful. And where it could of been corny, it was tongue-in-cheek.
Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger give career performances as mother and daughter. Both characters are polar opposites and in real life the actresses despised each other, but on screen their chemistry sizzles. Jack Nicholson is his usual suave self and John Lithgow is perfect as the wimpy banker. Danny Devito also has a quirky cameo.
James L. Brooks is definitely an "actor's director". To him, the performances are clearly more important than set pieces or flashy camera work. Each of the three main performances are brilliant (especially MacLaine's). It has been decades since a movie about illness has been made like this that is so achingly real. Two scenes to look for: Aurora walking across a seedy hotel (heat-breaking) and Emma telling her mother that she's pregnant (hilarious).
Terms of Endearment is a triumph!
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