Generally favorable reviews - based on 10 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. 100
    This is a wonderful film. There isn't a thing that I would change.
  2. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    It rates a resounding yes because it doesn't insult our emotional intelligence. [23 Nov 1983]
  3. Terms of Endearment is the rare commercial picture that sets audiences to laughing hysterically and crying unashamedly, sometimes within consecutive seconds, and then shoos them out of the theatre in contented emotional exhaustion. [23 Nov 1983]
  4. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    No film since Preston Sturges was a pup has so shrewdly appreciated the way the eccentric plays hide-and-seek with the respectable in the ordinary American landscape; no comedy since Annie Hall or Manhattan has so intelligently observed not just the way people live now but what's going on in the back of their minds; and finally, and in full knowledge that one may be doing the marketing department's job for them, it is the best movie of the year.
  5. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    Lopsided comedy turned tearjerker, saved by excellent performances.
  6. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    James L. Brooks's clever and witty cry-a-long which has as many guys pretending not to cry, as women unashamedly sobbing.
  7. Terms of Endearment is a funny, touching, beautifully acted film that covers more territory than it can easily manage.
  8. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    Teaming of Shirley MacLaine and Jack Nicholson at their best makes Terms of Endearment an enormously enjoyable offering for Christmas, adding bite and sparkle when sentiment and seamlessness threatens to sink other parts of the picture.
  9. There's not enough substance to support the sentiment of this longish comedy-drama.
  10. 40
    The dual-track plot, with constant cutting between mother and daughter, seems less an attempt to establish meaningful parallels between the two stories than the nervous twitches of a compulsive channel changer.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 22 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Nov 30, 2012
    This is such a fine piece of art. The dialogue and the relationship between the characters is so special. Such a warm hearted and incredibly funny entertaining movie at times. It is a roller coaster ride of emotions. The acting is about as good as acting can get. Terrific performances. Full Review »
  2. Aug 27, 2014
    What you'll find in Terms of Endearment are some of the most meaningful relationships you'll ever find on film. MacLaine and Nicholson are at their very best. Full Review »
  3. Aug 4, 2014
    This movie won multiple academy awards and nominations. This movie is moving, funny, sad, heart warming, and critically acclaimed. Shirley McClain gives a great performance and so do the others (Jack Nicholson, Debra Winger, Jeff Daniels), it also has great writing and a great story. Full Review »