[Quick Summary: A mother-daughter relationship struggles over 3 decades to make sense of themselves, men & family.]
The best description I've seen of this movie is that it's about characters trying to connect.
The writer (James L. Brooks) sets up the situation beautifully for the mother Aurora (Shirley McClaine): She is her own worst enemy.
ex. Aurora desperately wants to be loved, yet she's extremely critical & difficult. She attracts men like flies, yet not one is good enough.
To connect, Aurora has to change. She has to modify her words & expectations.
The genius is that it's also funny as she trips all over on her way to self-improvement.
WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Aurora is memorable, specifically because she's so difficult.
Terms of Endearment (1983)
by James L. Brooks