Terms of Endearment

LORELAI: Hey, do you remember in Terms of Endearment, that scene where Shirley MacLaine is in the hospital and freaks out because they won’t give her daughter a shot? She got that from me and she toned it down a little.

Terms of Endearment, a 1983 family comedy-drama film directed, written and produced by James L. Brooks, and adapted from the 1975 novel of the same name by Larry McMurty. The film covers thirty years of the relationship between Aurora Greenway, played by Shirley MacLaine, and her daughter Emma, played by Debra Winger.

Terms of Endearment received critical acclaim and was the #2 film of 1983. It received five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and a Best Actress Award for Shirley MacLaine.

In the film, Aurora and Emma have a difficult but very close relationship. Emma is diagnosed with a terminal illness, and Aurora stays by Emma’s side throughout her treatment and hospitalisation, proving to be a fierce advocate on her behalf. There is a memorable scene where Aurora screams at a nurse, insisting that her daughter receive a shot (of pain relief) immediately when she felt they were being too slow to administer it.

Note that Lorelai does the same thing Emily did at the hospital when Richard was admitted, even using a movie reference to get her point across.

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