It won five academy awards including Best picture, Best Direction, Best adapted screenplay, Best actress for Shirley MacLaine and Best Supporting Actor for Jack Nicholson.
First, the funny. This mother and daughter movie has great moments for each character, their love interests included. There are scenes here that I burst out laughing. The humour is mostly witty with some situational type stuff including a certain funny/shocking accident involving an inebriated Jack Nicholson and a car on the beach. Nicholson is especially vulgar but has a special charm that makes him the perfect match in casting to Maclaine’s powerfully played Aurora. Though the two above received the prestigious accolades, Debra Winger and Jeff Daniels (Harry off of dumb and dumber) turn a great performance here as well.
The frustrating is that amidst all the fun, the characters have these despicable flaws (some more than others). That’s where the drama comes in – that and well, life’s cruel twists. While you may hate some of the personages because of their actions, it’s difficult to remain completely angry with them because of their endearing qualities. Now, I’m not a huge fan of those kinds of real life traits in a movie as I generally prefer a little less grey, but this flick does it in such a way that though it’s frustrating (especially Winger’s and Daniels’ characters), it’s believable and doesn’t necessarily feel like it’s trying to be difficult on purpose.
Finally, the sad. The opening scene has a worried and somewhat eccentric mother pinching her baby, short of crawling into the crib with her to make sure that she is still breathing (the mom likely having checked only moments before). From its delightfully quirky beginning on through to the tragic but all too realistic end, we are able to peek in on the lives of the mother and daughter pair. Though never as physically close in the later years due to circumstance as they were in the earlier years, they still kept close contact via phone. There’s longing, betrayal, heart ache and loss all here.
One thing though. It was that I thought the swell of sentimental music is a little much at times. That aside, it’s an excellent movie if ever you’re in the mood for a romantic comedy-drama. Not necessarily a date movie, it’s more of a mother-daughter thing, but it is sure to have some appeal for everyone.