“Grown women are prepared for life’s little emergencies.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary notes in his GFTFF review that TOE is fortunately “not one of those pictures in which a stern parent lets her… daughter know that she indeed loves her deeply although she could never express it”; instead, “there is never any question that they love each other”, which is what makes the film as a whole so refreshing. When we watch Winger’s young character butting heads with her mom in opening scenes — and witness MacLaine actually admitting she’d prefer not to attend Winger’s wedding — we believe we’re being set up for a story that will center around ongoing mother/daughter strife; instead, what we see is a film “about two different women who become close friends“. While they remain “adversaries, they [also] seek out each other’s advice and support”, as they “begin leading parallel lives” (“both have affairs… at the same time”).
In the remainder of his review, Peary mentions numerous major spoilers that probably won’t be news to most film fanatics, but I’ll refrain from discussing them here. Suffice it to say that “the tragedy that befalls [one of the main characters] leads us to the film’s reassuring theme: in a crisis, especially a life-and-death situation, even irresponsible people will come through for those they love”. Peary notes that “we get a unique look at what makes even the most common people special”, and argues that TOE remains a “touching, tear-inducing film”. He points out that writer/director James L. Brooks’ project (based on a novel by Larry McMurtry) “was rejected by several studios because executives thought it was more appropriate for a television movie”, which makes sense — but the actors and the screenplay ultimately elevate this one above the level of most made-for-TV melodramas. It’s definitely worth a watch.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)