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Terms of Endearment

Shirley MacLaine , Debra Winger , James L. Brooks    PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)   VHS Tape
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)

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Amazon.ca

Larry McMurtry's novel becomes a somewhat lumpy film as directed by James L. Brooks (As Good As It Gets). Nevertheless, it is entirely winning, with Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger playing a combative mother and daughter who see each other through various ups and downs in love and loss, and most especially through a terminal illness endured by Winger's character. Jack Nicholson deservedly won an Oscar for his supporting role as a free-spirited astronaut who backs away from a romance with MacLaine and then returns in the clutch. As he always does, Brooks keeps things from getting too soapy with his intense concentration on the soulful evolution of his characters. --Tom Keogh

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tear-jerker Dec 24 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger play mother and daughter who are alternately at love and war with each other as they go on the roller-coaster of life. On a routine visit to the pediatrician for one of her sons, Winger's doc is more interested in her swollen glands than he is in her son's ear ache - and the next thing we know, Winger's diagnosed with a terminal illness. The pathos is well played, and I challenge anyone to emerge dry-eyed from the scene in which she says good-bye to her sons, esp to the one who is so angry and uncommunicative.
Everyone comes thru in the end, including the lumpish ex-husband, and Jack Nicholson, playing a free-spirited astronaut who is MacLaine's love interest, deservedly won an Oscar for this performance.
Excellent book by McMurtry; great movie by James L. Brooks.
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4.0 out of 5 stars COMING TO TERMS WITH PARAMOUNT DVD! March 9 2003
By Nix Pix
Format:DVD
By all accounts Debra Winger wasn't easy to get along with either on or off the set. But before she disappeared from Hollywood she proved that she was, among other things, one hell of a good actress. In "Terms of Endearment" she plays Emma, a newlywed, stricken with cancer and forced to grapple with the antics of her philandering husband, Flap (Jeff Daniels). The film is a potpourri of finely wrought performances and it really gets to the heart of the oddly confrontational relationship between a mother and daughter. On this occasion Emma's mother, Aurora Greenwood is played by Shirley MacLaine. As the grieving, scheming, ultra-concerned, overly protective and manipulative mother, MacLaine is superb. It's really no wonder or surprise that she took home the Oscar for this performance. Jack Nicholson costars as has been astronaut, Garrett Breedlove, known more for his roving eye and noncommittal, devil-may-care attitude toward the ladies than his prowess in the cockpit. His love/hate stance with Aurora blossoms into a genuinely poignant relationship as the film progresses. Danny Devito also appears in a cameo as one of Aurora's potential suitors.
Paramount Home Video has issued this movie in anamorphic widescreen. Colors are well balanced, though details get lost in darker scenes. The characteristic of the picture, overall, is one of dated 80s quality with film grain, grit and some smearing of colors and fading of fine details. Still, it's free of pixelization, edge enhancement and shimmering artifacts. The sound is flat but nicely restored. There are no extras.
BOTTOM LINE: GREAT MOVIE! GOOD BUY! SOME WORK LEFT TO BE DONE OVER AT THE 'MOUTAIN'!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting characters. March 2 2003
By A Customer
Format:DVD
Summary:
The movie is essentially about the relationship between a mother and her daughter but almost comes across as two separate movies because it follows the two women separately for a large part of the movie and then brings them back together at times.
Aurora Greenway (Shirley MacLaine) is Emma Greenway Horton's mother (Debra Winger). Aurora is over-protective and controlling, but Emma eventually finds her way out of her mother's home when she marries Flap Horton (Jeff Daniels). Emma and Flap move away from Aurora so Flap can pursue his career as a professor. Emma, meanwhile, is a stay at home mother and has three kids. While Flap and Emma are away, Aurora, who has constantly had suitors visiting her, finally decides she is going to develop a relationship with her neighbor, Garrett Breedlove (Jack Nicholson), who is a former astronaut and is now a drink-crazed womanizer. As it turns out, Garrett is just the person Aurora needs to come out of her shell and their relationship turns into something more than is expected at the beginning.
While Aurora is finding someone to love, Emma and Flap are doing the same - they just aren't doing it with each other. Both end up having affairs (at least, so we think). After discovering that Flap is becoming involved with a woman, Emma goes to the doctor for a flu shot for her and her daughter and finds out that she has cancer.
Emma ends up dying, Flap goes off with the other woman, and the three kids end up with Aurora back in Texas who is continuing to develop her relationship with the slightly calmed Garrett.
My Comments:
The movie kept my attention throughout though it isn't particularly exciting (except when Garrett is around).
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Acting Tour de Force Jan. 12 2003
Format:DVD
I've always been fascinated by good acting. It can make a break a film for me. TERMS OF ENDEARMENT is an acting feast, boasting stellar performances from Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger (as unlikely a biological mother/daughter combo as you can imagine, but hey, this is the movies). Jack Nicholoson does his thing as your typical astronaut-next door, and is effective, although it's a bit surprising that he walked off with an Oscar for what was, for him, pretty much a walk-through. John Lithgow and a young Jeff Daniels don't have all that much to do either, although like Nicholson, they are, at least, true to form. But this is one for the ladies, and it belongs to its two female leads.
I had a chuckle when I read Amazon's Tom Keough's review posted above. "Lumpy" is not a bad term for this film. It's really another one of those Hollywood adaptations, where you just know the book had to be better, even if you've never read the book. Everything here is just a little too rushed, a little too sketchy. You know time's flying because different child actors keep cropping up, playing the same roles at different ages. There seems to be an inordinate haste to get to the meat of the drama, which is, of course, the illness and death of Debra Winger's character.
Overall, a better and more authentic weep-fest than, say, BEACHES or LOVE STORY. Not quite as powerful a family drama as, say, the similarly themed ORDINARY PEOPLE, however. Well worth seeing, if like me, you've somehow missed it all these years. If nothing else, you can learn a great deal about the actor's craft from watching two truly great actresses.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A great classic.
Published 2 days ago by Diane
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
This is one of my favourite movies and I was more than happy to be able to purchase the CD. Have watched it more than once and very happy with my purchase
Published 17 months ago by Janet Hopkins
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best movies ever
This movie is older, but they don't make them like this these days. It's laugh out loud funny & an entire tissue box tear-jerker. Read more
Published on Jan. 4 2010 by Robyn McIntyre
4.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat cold, but still wonderful.
I saw this movie after I had seen Steel Magnolias, and to be honest it did not impress me as much as Steel Magnolias did. Read more
Published on May 14 2004 by Ryne Williams
4.0 out of 5 stars As a Male, I Dig This Movie
This film is categorized as a chick flick...but hey it made me cry too. I was a kid when I saw this film. My cat had just died, and guess what her name was? ...EMMA!!!! Read more
Published on Dec 2 2003 by Mount_Olympus
5.0 out of 5 stars On my top 10 list of all time
When we're channel surfing and this movie is on, my husband just hands over the remote b/c he KNOWS I cannot pass up watching it for the 200th time. It reels me right in. Read more
Published on Nov. 14 2003 by Alicia Walker
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, but predictable in a way.
This movie was a very good movie. I think it fully deserved its Oscar.
The only thing that bothered me was how predictable the ending was. Read more
Published on Aug. 14 2003 by TDS2BE
4.0 out of 5 stars On Their Own Terms
1983's Terms Of Endearment is based on a novel by Larry McMurtry, the man who also wrote Lonesome Dove and The Last Picture Show. Much like most of Mr. Read more
Published on Jan. 7 2003 by P Magnum
5.0 out of 5 stars A truely Genuine movie, a Golden Award to Me
An award winning cast that portrays a mother and daughter's bonding to each other to the death. It's a heart breaker, but shows life as it should be in loyalty between mother and... Read more
Published on Jan. 5 2003
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