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Terms of Endearment

Saturday, Aug 28 at 1:00 pm

Location: Bartos Screening Room

Dir. James L. Brooks. USA, 1983. 132 mins. DCP. With Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson, Jeff Daniels, John Lithgow, Danny DeVito. One of the very few Best Picture Academy Award winners in history to focus mainly on the lives of women, Terms of Endearment was the breakthrough movie from James L. Brooks, then known primarily for his television work. Adapted from the novel by Larry McMurtry, the film focuses on the sometimes infuriating, eternally unbreakable bond between a Texan mother and daughter: the caustic middle-aged Aurora (MacLaine, in a titanic, Oscar-winning performance) and the just-married Emma (Winger, at her idiosyncratic best). Remembered for its shocking tonal shift from rollicking comedy (thanks in no small part to Nicholson’s Oscar-winning supporting turn as Aurora’s has-been astronaut neighbor) to poignant tragedy, Terms is an epochal heartbreaker that redefined the parameters of the melodrama genre in the eighties.