Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Terms of Endearment (1983) & The Evening Star (1996)

A Film of Joy, Tragedy and Hope

One of the top grossing films of 1983, including sweeping away 5 Oscars, Terms of Endearment, not only is a heart-felt relationship between a sensitive and compassionate daughter (Debra Winger) and her over bearing mother, (Shirley MacLaine) but also what it means to get caught-up in the day to day: and faced with the really tough things in life like seeing one's child go through unnecessary torment and hardship- but most of all, the film shows us about living in the moment, having fun in the moment, because life is fleeting, and often times, tragic.

Garrett Breedlove (Jack Nicholson), a retired astronaut, lives next door to Aurora Greenway (Shirley MacLaine) and as middle age can be very lonely sometimes, reveals to Aurora a selfish man, but also one who enjoys life and she sets out to meet him, that ends in a strange but beautiful relationship. Taking away, at least, a little attention from her suffering daughter miles and states away.

This film is certainly a character driven film rather than plot driven because the story is a simple one. It is the dialouge, acting and the great direction of James L. Brooks, (Broadcast News, As Good as it Gets, to name a few) known in the industry as the 'actors director' which makes this film one of the best of 1883.

A beautiful film: loving, caring, moving, emotional, revealing the joys and the tragedy of life, leaving a glimmer of Hope for us all.

~ By C. Middleton ~


Shirley MacLaine, back as Aurora Greenway

In The Evening Star, the sequel to 1983's Oscar-winning predecessor Terms of Endearment, Aurora (Shirley MacLaine) picks up where she left off.

The saga now continues with her dead daughter's beleaguered offspring, and Granny Aurora just ain't doing so well. Her heart is, as always, in the rightest of places. Every week she's in the state pen visiting Tommy (George Newbern), but he's content to toss her homemade brownies in the trash. Teddy (Mackenzie Astin) drives a tow truck and has a little brat of his own. Most belligerent is Melanie (Juliette Lewis). Like the others, she's still angry over her mother's death and more often than not takes it out by doing whatever she feels like, much to the chagrin of Aurora.

All these problems drive Aurora into the arms of Jerry (Bill Paxton), a much-younger therapist who, like Albert Brooks in Mother, has some kind of unresolved Oedipal conflict to work out. Their scenes together are cute and sexy.

The film's sentimentality is overshadowed by the pure spunk of MacLaine's portrayal. And her perennial nemesis Patsy (Miranda Richardson) more than keeps Aurora's blood pumping.

It's fun to see MacLaine in this role again. She imbues Aurora with a warmth and trueness that reminded me how much I had missed her. Even the third act cameo by Jack Nicholson as astronaut Garrett went down easy.

Perhaps best of all is Marion Ross (Yo, Mrs. C.!), who gives a lovely performance as Rosie, Aurora's maid. ~ By David Robson ~


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