|Directed by:||James L. Brooks|
|Written by:||James L. Brooks|
|Cast:||Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito|
Terms of Endearment has earned the spot as one of those "chick flicks" that is popular for making women cry. It essentially is a Lifetime movie with bigger stars and having actually won some Oscars. I've heard all the hype about this movie for years and I decided to watch it for the first time to see what its all about. Surprisingly, I ended up really liking it despite the obvious sentimental tropes it applies in its story.
Good: I think what this movie does better than others of its ilk is that the characters are built wonderfully. The relationship between mother and daughter portrayed by MacLaine and Winger respectably is built from the very first scene. They talk, they laugh, and they fight and it is believable. No one is a true villain, but rather they have their insecurities about life and love and are trying to make the best of it. Winger and MacLaine are great in this movie and are the heart of the story which makes everything work even when it leans on the sappy side. On the male side of the spectrum, Jack Nicholson is entertaining as the horny neighbor and John Lithgow turns in a surprisingly gentle performance. Additionally, for a movie over two hours, it moves at a decent pace. The ending pulls in all the tearjerker material, but because we spend time with the characters it doesn't feel too manipulative.
Bad: It has a strong finish, but it does bring the sentimentality to 11 very quickly which can be jarring to some people. The editing and passing of time is a bit weird as it jumps from one year to five in a couple scenes. Jeff Daniels is solid here, but he doesn't have that much impact in the story even when it revolves around his marriage with Winger's character.
Overall, it could be dismissed as a chick flick, but it is actually a solid drama. Nothing earth shattering, but a good old fashioned family drama with great performances to anchor it down.