7.6/10
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'night, Mother (1986)

PG-13 | | Drama | 29 January 1987 (Australia)
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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(play), (screenplay)
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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)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Was originally a Broadway play, written by Marsha Norman and directed by Tom Moore, both of whom returned for the movie adaptation. The production opened at the John Golden Theater on March 31, 1983, ran for 380 performances, and was nominated for four Tony Awards: Best Play, Best Actress in a Play (both Kathy Bates and Anne Pitoniak), and Best Director. Despite losing at the Tony's, the play won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and was revived on Broadway in 2004. See more »

Quotes

Thelma: It's all that okra she eats. You can't eat okra willy nilly for two meals a day and expect to get away with it.
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Connections

Referenced in Better Than Ever (1997) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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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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