105 Must See Films

105 Must See Films: Terms Of Endearment (1983)


Starring: Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson, Jeff Daniels

Director: James L Brooks

It’s all about the mother-daughter relationship in this delightfully funny tear jerker.

Aurora (MacLaine) is the most picky, difficult person. When her adult daughter Emma (Winger) gets married, she finds it hard to let go, but over time she finds herself starting to loosen up and starts to date again, including her cheeky, womanising neighbour (Nicholson). Of course the path to true love isn’t smooth.

For Emma, learning to love independently of her mother is a difficult learning curve, as is navigating her marriage, and falling pregnant, moving away, raising two boys. But a test of all of their faith comes in the end when they have to think about what’s important.

This film is a little odd in that it feels rather long and episodic, rather than being about one theme or one plot, but it is very bittersweet and funny to see the women grow and change with their circumstances and deal with each other over time.

It’s a must see because: It really swept the awards season on it’s release, with 11 academy award nominations and 5 wins. What seems to be the thing that makes it so timeless is that the performances are all very real and natural, which makes you care very much about what happens, and then the script is also very witty, which makes you laugh one minute and perhaps cry the next. I love the way that it covers so much time, about 20 or 30 years of the women’s lives, which is unusual, and of course the mother-daughter banter or bickering is quite fun too. It’s an emotional story, without being soap opera or melodrama. It’s heart felt and entertaining.  A classic drama.

See It If: you ever had issues with your mother, or love to have a cry over a movie.


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