21 November 2011

Terms of Endearment (starring Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger)

I knew that 'Terms of Endearment' was a classic film from the 1980s, and something of a weepy; but probably would never have bought it, had I not spotted it on a church bookstall for a euro.

When we sat down to watch it, we were not entirely sure what to expect. Shirley MacLaine stars brilliantly as Aurora, an over-protective mother who is widowed at a young age, so brings up her daughter Emma (Debra Winger) as a single parent. They are very close during Emma's childhood, but as she grows up, she needs to exert her independence. Emma and Aurora find themselves clashing, particularly - early in the film - over Emma's wedding.

The film spans three decades of their relationship, although it mostly takes place during Emma's adult years. It demonstrates their very different personalities and responses to people, with superb characterisation. Aurora is outgoing and somewhat brash, while Emma is more gentle and insightful. We see them not just with each other, but with friends and lovers - there are some amusing scenes with Aurora's astronaut neighbour, played wonderfully by Jack Nicholson, as well as more poignant ones.

I found myself completely captivated by the story; it was beautifully done, with some deeply emotional scenes as well as plenty of light humour. I thought it excellent in showing how people express their love in such different ways, and how - in the end - nobody can protect their offspring forever.

Definitely recommended. Rated 15 in the UK, probably due to sexual references and some very strong language in a few places, but - oddly - only PG in the USA.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews, 7th November 2011

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