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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 »

Director:

Tom Moore

Writers:

Marsha Norman (play), Marsha Norman (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Sissy Spacek ... Jessie Cates
Anne Bancroft ... Thelma Cates
Ed Berke Ed Berke ... Dawson Cates
Carol Robbins Carol Robbins ... Loretta Cates
Jennifer Roosendahl Jennifer Roosendahl ... Melodie Cates
Michael Kenworthy Michael Kenworthy ... Kenny Cates
Sari Walker Sari Walker ... Agnes Fletcher
Claire Malis 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 January 1987 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Boa Noite Mãe See more »

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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

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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: 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 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 ebonyaprilddSee 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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