Terms of Endearment

Terms of Endearment Image
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 10 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 28 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Following the mother-daughter relationship of Aurora Greenway (MacLaine) who doesn't like it when her daughter Emma (Winger) marries Flap (Daniels).

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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: Richard Schickel
    100
    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.
  3. The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    Reviewed by: Jay Scott
    100
    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. 80
    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.
  5. 80
    James L. Brooks's clever and witty cry-a-long which has as many guys pretending not to cry, as women unashamedly sobbing.
  6. Terms of Endearment is a funny, touching, beautifully acted film that covers more territory than it can easily manage.
  7. 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.

See all 10 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 6
  2. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Aug 16, 2013
    10
    It's beautiful. It's real. A kind of situation that happens all the time with many people. Shirley and Debra are perfect together. NicholsonIt's beautiful. It's real. A kind of situation that happens all the time with many people. Shirley and Debra are perfect together. Nicholson is brilliant as usual. Anyway, a beautiful story with the perfect soundtrack. Expand
  2. Nov 30, 2012
    9
    This is such a fine piece of art. The dialogue and the relationship between the characters is so special. Such a warm hearted and incrediblyThis 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. Expand
  3. Aug 4, 2014
    8
    This movie won multiple academy awards and nominations. This movie is moving, funny, sad, heart warming, and critically acclaimed. ShirleyThis 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. Expand
  4. Aug 27, 2014
    8
    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 atWhat 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. Expand
  5. Nov 14, 2011
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Bottom Line: Fairly decent, but donâ Expand
  6. May 30, 2016
    5
    Okay, Terms of Endearment won all of the noticeable Oscars for 1983, and since most people will be checking this movie out/ criticising itOkay, Terms of Endearment won all of the noticeable Oscars for 1983, and since most people will be checking this movie out/ criticising it based on the amount of oscars it won, so will I.

    Best Picture - I personally dont think this movie deserved to win Best Picture of the year, i dont know what other notable works has been nominated in 1983, but i did not think Terms of Endearment is at all a cinematic achievement, like most Best Picture winners tend to be. Terms of Endearment is entertaining but that's all it is, it isn't bravura filmmaking, it isnt showing us things we haven't ever seen before, it's basically a formula chick flick, only better than the usual garbage that is being produced these last couple of years.
    Best Screenplay - Here is where the movie's main faults come in, the Screenplay is very bland and uninvolved, the screenplay is neither funny nor emotionally evocative, the characters arent interesting, nor do you feel compassion for them. Except Jack Nicholson's character, who is a clear stand out with a good performance playing a delightful character, the rest of the characters are all pretty much uninteresting, and you dont feel anything for them. The reason for that is the constant jumping forward in time, something like that could make simple story (which Terms for Endearment is) more captivating and interesting to watch, but how it is done here results in the audience being unable to fully connect with the characters, and it skips forward just when it gets interesting and when you want to see more. (Especially in the beginning of the film) Also, the ending was very predictable, the screenwriter wanted to make this film an emotional adventure so he chose the easy way out to just have a main character die in the end, which i was expecting since the story wasn't going anywhere half where through. and there is another problem, a movie like this (a movie that doesnt really have a story/ a structured beginning and end) must be really captivating to work. (structureless/episodic films) Movies like this are difficult to make and succeed at, but it is possible, take La Dolce Vita for instance, that movie doesnt really have a firm story, it doesnt have a perfect beginning, middle and end, but it works because the rest is soo perfect. Unlike La Dolce Vita, Terms of Endearment has no solid clue what it's about, it's just a section of the lives of some people...
    Best Director - Best Picture and Best Director usually go hand-in-hand for me, i personally thought legend filmmaker Ingmar Bergman should've won Best Director for Fanny Och Alexander.
    Best Actress, Shirley MacLaine - The character she plays is one-note, she doesnt have a character arc, she doesnt change behavior (at least not that much) which makes her an interesting character to look at. The way she's played by MacLaine really isnt all that great either, in emotional parts she seems vastly mediocre, in more eccentric parts of the film she gives a hammy performance, that comes close to overacting. She was fine, but not all that great, she should've won for The Apartment, where she was much more delightful.
    Best Actor, Jack Nicholson - Not his best performance but certainly something different, he plays a normal guy, but still shows what Nicholson does best, being sarcastic and funny. His character certainly is a secondary character, he doesnt have much screen time, MacLaine, Daniels and Winger certainly have the most screen time, but whenever Jack is on screen he is, as always, a delight to look at. My favorite scenes from this film are all with Jack on screen.

    All in all, Terms of Endearment is certainly an above-average chick flick, and a good/entertaining watch for family/ loved ones, but the amount of Oscars it undeservedly won is ridiculous.
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