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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  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$49,164, 14 September 1986, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$441,863
See more on IMDbPro »

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

When asked by a Hollywood columnist if she was upset she didn't receive an Oscar nomination for her performance, Anne Bancroft quipped, "I should have gotten an Oscar just for memorizing all those lines." See more »

Quotes

Thelma: We're just gonna sit around like every other night in the world, and then you're gonna kill yourself? You'll miss! You'll wind up a vegetable! How'd you like that? You know what the doctor said about getting excited. You'll cock the pistol and have a fit!
Jessie: I think I can kill myself, Mama.
Thelma: It's a sin! You'll go to Hell!
Jessie: Jesus was a suicide if you ask me.
Thelma: You'll go to Hell just for saying that, Jessie!
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Infuriating.
12 October 2001 | by See all my reviews

This film was amazingly well acted and filmed. It plays like a very intimate stage play. Sissy Spacek & Anne Bancroft each present their characters so seamlessly and flawlessly that I left the theater wondering if they actually were mother and daughter.

This movie is extremely well written. The fact that it infuriated me, in this instance is not a put-down. I believe this script was designed to do so. It's infuriating because Ms. Spacek's character is so hell-bent on her intentions that nothing but nothing is going to change her mind. Ms. Bancroft's character's job is to try and stop Spacek from reaching this particular goal she's set, at any cost. This script is a good case study into the mind-set of people who are suffering from extreme depression and the skewed decisions that they might make while in the midst of that depression.

I would highly recommend this film, with the understanding that it is not your light, airy, happy-ending movie. If you're looking for one of those don't bother with this one.


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