(out of 5)
Although there are some high points in this sequel to 1983’s Oscar winning Terms Of Endearment, the elements of the original that didn’t survive to the sequel are sorely missing. Shirley MacLaine is once again Texas matriarch Aurora Greenway who, following the death of her daughter Emma, has raised her three grandchildren with what she considers to be very little success: one of the boys is in jail, the other is struggling in his career and her granddaughter Melanie (Juliette Lewis, somewhat miscast) is running away with a boy (Scott Wolf) who is incredibly wrong for her (except that Scott Wolf in white-trash getup looks like…Scott Wolf in white-trash getup). Into the mix comes snotty Patsy (Miranda Richardson), Emma’s best friend who always wanted to raise Melanie herself and still resents Aurora for not letting her, and a sexy doctor (Bill Paxton) who finds Aurora irresistible and starts a passionate affair with her. The best scenes are those involving Marion Ross‘s beautiful performance as Aurora’s maid and best friend Rosie; their relationship is the film’s most potent, even though this is totally by accident. The emotions are all genuine and sometimes it is very moving, but if the original’s soap opera qualities haven’t aged all that well it goes without saying that this one’s bumpy plot was troubled from the get-go. It goes too far in its last third (do we really need to see Aurora grow to be seven hundred years old? It’s not like we can’t guess for ourselves that she remains a feisty old thing until the bitter end) but when all is said and done you won’t exactly hate yourself in the morning for sticking with it.
Directed by Robert Harling
Screenplay by Robert Harling, based on the novel by Larry McMurtry
Cinematography by Don Burgess
Music by William Ross
Production Design by Bruno Rubeo
Costume Design by Renee Ehrlich Kalfus