Terms of Endearment

  • Review Date: September 6, 2005
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1983
  • Running Time: 132 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Glossy, funny, and packs a real emotional wallop.
  • Review Date: September 6, 2005
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1983
  • Running Time: 132 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Stuck in a drifting relationship, both husband and wife have affairs.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

There's quite a lot of sexual activity in this movie, although nothing is shown. Characters talk about sex often; one frank exchange concerns the noises people make during love-making.

Language

Infrequent mild profanity and two uses of an extreme expletive.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Two twenty-something girls smoke pot. Jack Nicholson's character drinks heavily.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie delivers quite an emotional wallop. Also, there's quite a lot of sexual activity in this movie, although nothing is shown. Characters talk about sex often; one frank exchange concerns the noises people make during love-making. The movie also features a strong, if contentious, mother-daughter relationship.

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

What's the story?

In order to escape her overbearing mother Aurora (Shirley MacLaine), Emma (Debra Winger) marries a man of questionable merit. But Mamma cannot let go, even when Emma's family relocates for work. Things are tough personally and financially for Emma in her new community, and three kids later, she ends up having an affair with a dowdy local bank manager. Left alone at home, lonely Aurora eventually agrees to date next-door- neighbor Joe (Jack Nicholson), an obnoxious ex-astronaut who seemingly has all the wrong stuff. Mother and daughter continue to share every detail of their lives, including Emma's marital troubles and Aurora's newly awakened interest in sex. Things take a drastic turn for the worse when Emma is diagnosed with cancer. The end is slow and painful for Emma and her family.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This engaging movie cleaned up at the Academy Awards, winning Best Picture and Best Director Oscars for James L. Brooks, and a Best Actress nod for Shirley MacLaine. And it's easy to see why. This is the kind of well-made movie that Hollywood used to make on a regular basis. It's glossy, funny, and packs a real emotional wallop in its tragic conclusion.

 

Skilled performances make an absorbing story even more appealing. MacLaine and Deborah Winger provide most of the sparks, but they're well-supported by an exuberant Jack Nicholson and a superb cast of extras. The movie is populated with rich and genuinely funny supporting characters, including Jeff Daniels. Aurora is an embarrassment of neurotic riches, and MacLaine plays moments of embarrassment to the hilt. While a bit risqué for preteens, the rest of the family will laugh and weep through this charming movie.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about other sad movies. What is a tear-jerker? When is a movie considered to be one and when is it a moving story?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 20, 1983
DVD release date:April 10, 2001
Cast:Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson, Shirley MacLaine
Director:James L. Brooks
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Genre:Comedy
Run time:132 minutes
MPAA rating:PG

This review of Terms of Endearment was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written bySpielberg00 November 5, 2011
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Very mature for a PG rating. Why did it win Best Picture?

My rating: PG-13 for brief sexual references, some drug use and strong language.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Bring A Box of Kleenex

Teen, 13 years old Written byBestPicture1996 August 2, 2009
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Chick flick to the max

Normally I wouldn't associate myself with a chick-flick, plus I heard this was a real tearjerker, and I'm not one to cry at movies (except "I Am Sam") but it won Best Picture so I had to see it. I was pleasently surprised, the acting was absolutely fantastic, and all together it was fairly good...and I filled up.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great role models

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