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'night, Mother (1986)

7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 1,538 users  
Reviews: 40 user | 10 critic

What would you do if someone you loved sat down with you one night and calmly told you that they were going to end their life before morning? This is Thelma Cates' dilemma. Her daughter, ... See full summary »

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Title: 'night, Mother (1986)

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Jessie Cates
...
Thelma Cates
Ed Berke ...
Dawson Cates
Carol Robbins ...
Loretta Cates
Jennifer Roosendahl ...
Melodie Cates
Michael Kenworthy ...
Kenny Cates
Sari Walker ...
Agnes Fletcher
Claire Malis ...
Operator (voice)
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Storyline

What would you do if someone you loved sat down with you one night and calmly told you that they were going to end their life before morning? This is Thelma Cates' dilemma. Her daughter, Jessie, has had it. A middle-aged epileptic unable to hold a job or drive with a failed marriage and a drug-addicted runaway son on the wrong side of the law, Jessie can find no reason to go on living. Adapted from the play by Marsha Norman, "'night, Mother" is the story of a parent's worst nightmare. How can Thelma convince her daughter that life is worth living if she can't feel her pain? How can she end her daughter's embrace of death before morning? Written by Mark Fleetwood <mfleetwo@mail.coin.missouri.edu>/Reid Taylor

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It happened in 1983. It was a rare and remarkable theatrical experience. Controversial. Provocative. And shocking. Now, two Academy Award-winning actresses make the Pulitzer Prize-winning play the motion picture event of the year.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 January 1987 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Boa Noite Mãe  »

Box Office

Gross:

$442,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Despite being backed by a major studio and with major performers as its leads, the film had extremely limited theatrical distribution, playing at only 35 theaters in its widest release. This marketing decision may have been motivated by the film's controversial storyline. See more »

Quotes

Thelma: People don't kill themselves, Jessie. It's doesn't make sense, unless you're retarded or deranged, and you're as normal as they come, Jessie, for the most part. We're all afraid to die!
Jessie: I'm not, Mama. It's exactly what I want. It's dark and quiet.
Thelma: So's the backyard, Jessie.
Jessie: So quiet, I don't know it's quiet, so nobody can get me.
Thelma: Dead might not be quiet at all, Jessie. What if it's like an alarm clock, and you can't wake up, so you can't shut it off... ever!
Jessie: Dead is everbody and everything I ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in CSI: NY: Night, Mother (2004) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
"Night Mother is an emotional roller coaster, if there ever was one.
4 July 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It's gut wrenching, incredibly sad, funny in a few parts and completely shocking. I first saw this movie in my early 20's and it had a profound effect on me. I do not watch it much because it is very, very deep and extremely, depressing.

Jessie Cates, played by Sissy Spacek, is a middle-aged, epileptic living with her mother. She has had a traumatic, divorce in her past and a wayward son headed for prison. Due to her illness, she can't drive or hold down a job and has no hopes that anything will get better for her. Jessie, has after years of contemplating suicide, finally picked the night to do it. She has organized her personal belongings and put everything in order. Now, all she has to do is tell her mother.

Anne Bancroft, plays Jessie's mother, the blissfully ignorant, Thelma Cates. Who by her own description, is "a plain, old, country woman" who "just really doesn't think there's all that much to things". She is caught totally off guard when her daughter tells her, she is planning to kill herself that night. Momma Cates is so blatantly unaware that her daughter is unhappy that she even tells her where the gun is before asking why.

The subject matter and the way it's presented is so thought provoking that one doesn't even take notice of the fact that almost this entire movie consists of basically only two actresses.

I highly recommend this movie, just don't expect a happy ending.


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Absolutely killed me Flanneletteshirt
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