One of Larry McMurtry's most sensitive and compelling portrayals of human relationships, TERMS OF ENDEARMENT is a story of love, its occasional absence and the emotional tensions we generate in its maintenance.
At the story's center is a Aurora Greenway, a woman who makes the world revolve around her. Shrewd yet inwardly tender, spirited but vulnerable, she attracts a series of dedicated protectors.
But in the final analysis she learns about love not from a person but from an event -- in this case loss, specifically the death of her daughter.
An Oscar-winning story of a memorable mother and her fiesty daughter who find the courage and humor to live through life's hazards and to love each other as never before. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Lonesome Dove created two characters who won the hearts of readers and moviegoers everywhere--Aurora Greenway and her daughter Emma.
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 consolation with an unhappily married banker played by John Lithgow, who registers well in a rare "nice guy" performance. As for Aurora, she is ardently pursued by her next-door neighbor, boisterous astronaut Garrett Breedlove Jack Nicholson. After 75 minutes or so of pursuing an episodic, semi-comic plotline, the film abruptly shifts moods when Emma discovers that she has terminal cancer. Terms of Endearment won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay for TV veteran James L. Brooks making his first feature film, Best Actress for MacLaine, and Best Supporting Actor for Nicholson. It was followed by a sequel, The Evening Star 1996, which again featured MacLaine as Aurora.
December 9, 1983 (wide)
Running time: 131 minutes
Shirley MacLaine as Aurora Greenway
Debra Winger as Emma Greenway-Horton
Jack Nicholson as Garrett Breedlove
Danny DeVito as Vernon Dahlart
Jeff Daniels as Flap Horton
John Lithgow as Sam Burns
Lisa Hart Caroll as Patsy Clark
Huckleberry Fox as Ted "Teddy" Horton
Troy Bishop as Tom "Tommy" Horton
Megan Morris as Melanie Horton
Kate Charleson as Janice
The film won five Academy Awards and four Golden Globes:
Academy Award for Best Picture - (James L. Brooks)
Academy Award for Directing – (James L. Brooks)
Academy Award for Best Actress – (Shirley MacLaine)
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor – (Jack Nicholson)
Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay – (James L. Brooks)
Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Drama
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama – (Shirley MacLaine)
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – (Jack Nicholson)
Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay - Motion Picture – (James L. Brooks)
DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures – (James L. Brooks)
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Film
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress - (Shirley MacLaine)
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor - (Jack Nicholson)
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress - (Debra Winger)
Academy Award for Best Actress – (Debra Winger)
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor – (John Lithgow)
Academy Award for Best Art Direction - (Polly Platt, Harold Michelson, Tom Pedigo, and Anthony Mondell)
Academy Award for Film Editing – (Richard Marks)
Academy Award for Original Music Score – (Michael Gore)
Academy Award for Best Sound – (Donald O. Mitchell, Rick Kline, Kevin O'Connell, and James R. Alexander)
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama – (Debra Winger)
Golden Globe Award for Best Director – (James L. Brooks)
BAFTA Award for Best Actress – (Shirley MacLaine)
I have to be in a certain mood to watch this film because it makes me tear up every time. I have a very close relationship with my mother so it tugs at my heart. The cast is superb, their acting is amazing and the writing and timing is perfect. It's not one that most people can just watch any time, I know I can't but it is definitely one not to be missed.
Larry McMurtry is the author of twenty-nine novels, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lonesome Dove, three memoirs, two collections of essays, and more than thirty screenplays.
Among many other accolades he was the co-winner of an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for Brokeback Mountain in 2006.
Larry McMurty was born in Wichita Falls Texas in 1936. His first published book Horseman, Pass By was adapted into the film "Hud".
McMurty went on to publish many more novels, a number of which went on to become movies as well as a TV mini-series.