Terms of Endearment
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Terms of Endearment covers three decades in the lives of widow Aurora Greenaway (Shirley MacLaine) and her daughter Emma (Debra Winger). Fiercely protected by Aurora throughout childhood, Emma runs into resistance from her mother when she marries wishy-washy college teacher Flap (Jeff Daniels). Aurora is even more put out at the prospect of being a grandmother, though she grows a lot fonder of her three grandkids than she does of her son-in-law. Flap proves that Aurora's instincts were on target when he enters into an affair with a student (Kate Charleson). Meanwhile, Emma finds romantic… More
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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Terms of Endearment is about three relationships and students of screenwriting would do well to study the way in which these three stories are told completely and effortlessly in a movie of average length."
‑ Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune
"[Writer-director James L. Brooks] has television in his soul: his people are incredibly tiny (most are defined by a single stroke of obsessive behavior), and he chokes out his narrative in ten-minute chunks, separated by aching lacunae."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"In his directorial debut, Brooks proves himself a master with actors."
‑ , People Magazine
"This is American mainstream movie-making at its best."
‑ John Ferguson, Radio Times
"This hugely successful tear-jerker boasts some magnificent on-screen chemistry between Jack Nicholson and Shirley MacLaine."
‑ , Film4
"Its quirky rhythms and veering emotional tones are very much its own, and they owe less to movie tradition than they do to a sense of how the law of unintended consequences pushes us ceaselessly through the years, permitting no pause for perspective."
‑ Richard Schickel, TIME Magazine
"Then The Illness strikes, and the film changes gear completely, pulling out all the stops."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"Its soppy story is freed from cheap tear-jerking by Brooks' confident direction, Larry McMurtry's poignant script and a flawless ensemble."
‑ Paul M. Bradshaw, Total Film
"Glossy, funny, and packs a real emotional wallop."
‑ Randy White, Common Sense Media
"No-wonder Jack was so keen to land this role. It was simply perfect for him."
‑ , Empire Magazine
"Brooks' dialog is wonderful throughout and all the characters carry off their assignments beautifully, even down to Danny De Vito and Norman Bennett as MacLaine's other suffering suitors."
‑ James Harwood, Variety
"The most remarkable achievement of Terms of Endearment, which is filled with great achievements, is its ability to find the balance between the funny and the sad, between moments of deep truth and other moments of high ridiculousness."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"There's not enough substance to support the sentiment of this longish comedy-drama."
‑ David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor
"The tragi-comedy never made me reach for my hankie, never tickled my funny bone and it never found a way into my heart."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger are fantastic as a mother and daughter who individually face life's challenges and end up stronger because of it."
‑ Wesley Lovell, Cinema Sight
More reviews for Terms of Endearment on Rotten Tomatoes

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