A 1974 novel by Larry McMurtry, Terms of Endearment is best known for its 1983 film version, the debut feature of James L. Brooks. With an All-Star Cast headed by Jack Nicholson and Shirley MacLaine in their Oscar-winning roles, the film went on to win five total Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
Aurora Greenway (MacLaine) and her daughter Emma (Debra Winger) have grown apart over the years. Aurora has found herself with a string of suitors, most notably retired astronaut Garrett Breedlove (Nicholson), while Emma too has an affair in the midst of her loveless marriage. When Emma is diagnosed with cancer, everyone's relationships will be tested.
McMurtry published a sequel to the original novel, The Evening Star, in 1992; this was itself adapted into a film four years later, with MacLaine and Nicholson reprising their roles.
This work features examples of:
- Bittersweet Ending: Emma dies of cancer, but not before reconciling with her mother and allowing her custody of her children.
- Canon Foreigner: Garret Breedlove for the film version.
- Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Played with. When Emma announces she's pregnant again, Aurora gets exasperated and mentions that a lot of smart girls are getting abortions.
- Knitting Pregnancy Announcement: Discussed after Aurora explodes about becoming a grandmother, the clueless Flap asks her "Does this mean you won't be knitting the baby any booties?"
- Ma'am Shock: Or, Being A Grandmother Shock for Aurora.Aurora: Why should I be happy about being A GRANDMOTHER?
Flap: (mildly) Does this mean you won't be knitting the baby any booties?
- Mama Bear: Aurora.Aurora: It's past ten. My daughter is in pain. I don't understand why she has to have this pain. All she has to do is hold out until ten, and IT'S PAST TEN! My daughter is in pain, can't you understand that! GIVE MY DAUGHTER THE SHOT!
- Recycled Trailer Music: Dear God, yes. At this point, the main theme is better remembered than the film itself.
- Your Cheating Heart: Emma and Flap both cheat on each other.