Terms of Endearment  

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Terms of Endearment is a 1983 romantic comedy-drama film adapted by James L. Brooks from the novel by Larry McMurtry and starring Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, and Jack Nicholson. It covers 30 years of the relationship between Aurora Greenway (MacLaine) and her daughter Emma (Winger). A sequel, The Evening Star, in which MacLaine and Nicholson reprised their roles, was released in 1996 to much less acclaim.

The film won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Direction, Best Supporting Actor for Jack Nicholson, and Best Actress for Shirley MacLaine, and four Golden Globes.


Widowed Aurora Greenway (Shirley MacLaine) keeps several suitors at arm's length in Houston, focusing instead on her close, but controlling, relationship with daughter Emma (Debra Winger). Anxious to escape her mother, Emma marries callow young college professor Flap Horton (Jeff Daniels) over her mother's objections, moves away, and has three children. Despite their frequent spats and difficulty getting along, Emma and Aurora have a tie between them that cannot be broken, and keep in touch by telephone.

Emma and Flap soon run into financial and marital difficulties. Emma has trouble managing the children and household, and she and Flap both have extramarital affairs. Emma relies increasingly on her mother for emotional support. Meanwhile, the lonely Aurora overcomes her repression, and begins a whirlwind romance with her next-door neighbor, retired astronaut Garrett Breedlove (Jack Nicholson).

The Horton family moves from Houston to Des Moines and eventually to Nebraska, apparently for Flap's career, but mostly so he can be near his girlfriend. Emma is diagnosed with cancer, which becomes terminal. Aurora stays by Emma's side through her treatment and hospitalization, even while dealing with her own pain after Garrett suddenly ends their relationship. The dying Emma shows her love for her mother by entrusting her own children to Aurora's care. After Emma's death, Garrett reappears in the family's life, and begins to bond with Emma's young children.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Terms of Endearment" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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