Terms of Endearment: 4K UHD Review

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of James L. Brooks’ five time Academy Award winning, Terms of Endearment, Paramount has released a new 4K UHD as part of its’ Paramount Presents line. I wish I had an explanation for how I have gone forty years without ever seeing this film before now, even though I had seen its’ forgettable 1996 sequel, The Evening Star. Many people don’t even realize Terms of Endearment had a sequel and somehow, I had seen that but never the one that was actually good. When Paramount announced that they were releasing a new 4K, I figured, now was my chance.

Ever since Emma (Debra Winger) was a baby, her mother Aurora (Shirley Maclaine) watched over her like a hawk. Aurora would constantly wake up her daughter from sleeping just to see if she was still breathing. You could even hear the father in the background, yelling…let her sleep! As Emma got older, Aurora would not loosen her controlling grip. While the mother and daughter had a close relationship, it clearly wasn’t a very healthy one.

Even though Aurora felt it was a huge mistake, Emma married college professor Flap Horton (Jeff Daniels). To make things even more difficult for Aurora, Emma and Flap move to Iowa after he was offered a job as an English Professor. Now with three children, the family has run into financial troubles with marriage issues that followed due to Flap’s infidelity. Emma does find some happiness when she meets and falls for a married man named Sam (John Lithgow). Meanwhile, back in Texas, a relationship develops between Aurora and her former astronaut neighbor Garrett (Jack Nicholson). Although Aurora thinks he is crude, disrespectful and kind of a drunk, she does find herself attracted to him.

There are quite a few unforeseen back and forth situations that occur within both relationships, but that all comes to a screeching halt when Emma learns she has cancer.  Terms of Endearment is a drama above all, but does have its’ share of laugh-out-loud comedy moments. Everyone is terrific here. We even get supporting roles from the likes of Danny Devito. He isn’t given a whole lot to do, but he makes the most of it.

Presented with Dolby Vision HDR and it looks fantastic. The transfer was sourced from the original camera negative and approved by James L. Brooks. Blacks are rich, the greens in the grass and trees around Aurora’s house look natural, along with those around Flap’s college campus. Flesh tones are also nearly perfect. This is truly a beautiful presentation. We get a 5.1 DTS-HD audio track, which is apparently the same one used for the 2013 Blu-ray, which I had never seen. As this is a dialogue driven drama, we really didn’t need anything more than what is being presented here. Michael Gore’s score sounds fantastic and there isn’t anything to complain about with anything else. Even louder scenes, like when Garrett and Aurora are racing down the beach in his sports car while yelling sounds great.

If you are a fan of Terms of Endearment, this is a disk you may want to pick up and watch with your family during the holidays.

Bonus Features:

  • NEW Filmmaker Focus with James L. Brooks
  • Audio Commentary
  • Theatrical Trailer

By: Marc Ferman