Film Scouts Reviews

"The Evening Star"

by Leslie Rigoulot

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Did you like "Terms of Endearment"? Then you'll like the sequel, "The Evening Star". Debra Winger isn't around to spar with Shirley MacLaine in the role that won her an Oscar, but Juliette Lewis takes her place as Aurora Greenway's angry granddaughter. Two grandsons are thrown in for good measure and Miranda Richardson (as Aurora's sister, Patsy) is around to aggravate her as well. In case you missed "Terms", Aurora is a well-off Houstonian who sees the chaos in the lives of those she loves and tries to fix it, whether these loved ones want it fixed or not.

Complex relationships are author Larry McMurtry's forte, and Robert Harling (as writer and director) does a great job getting them on the screen. The only problem is that he gets too much on the screen and lets MacLaine grab every close-up and steal every scene. There is already a whole movie in just the grandkids, but then a subplot with Bill Paxton as Aurora's shrink is added. Well, that's not so bad, but then another subplot involving Marion Ross (better known as Mrs. Cunningham on TV's 'Happy Days') is thrown in. Oh, and don't forget the relationship with Donald Moffat that is layered into this cake. The good news is that the cake is topped by MacLaine, and the supporting cast is outstanding. This was Ben Johnson's last movie, one of Scott Wolf's first. An though the ads feature 30 seconds of Jack Nicholson, he is in only four minutes of the film. But what a stupendous four minutes! Sure, there were times when I felt manipulated, but there were just as many pure, honest moments. So take your box of kleenex and go. Rated PG-13. Paramount.

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