Emma was played by Debra Winger. We were about the same age when the movie came out.
Fast forward to present day. I hadn't watched Terms of Endearment in about ten years. Recently, on a rainy day, I settled in to watch it with my kids. I told them how much I had loved the movie and that they could count on me sobbing through-out.
But somehow, everything had changed! I was identifying with Emma's mother Aurora played by Shirley MacLaine! When as a longtime widow she began dating her next door neighbor I felt how awkward it was. When she wanted to control/help her daughter, I understood! When she found out her daughter was sick...
That was when the sobbing began.
I realized I wasn't crying at the parts I used to, when Emma's husband cheated on her, when she had to move again, even when she had to tell her children she had cancer!
I was crying when Aurora was devastated about her daughter's health, when she forgave Hap for treating her daughter like crap, when she was helpless in helping her daughter escape pain and ultimately death.
It's funny, I always thought Shirley MacLaine was so much older when this movie came out. I come to find out that she was only 48 years-old!
I have really been contemplating why this movie has changed so much for me.
Is it because now I closer in age to the Aurora than I am to Emma?
Is it because my experience and that of my peers is now more reflected by Aurora than Emma?
I say yes to both.
And now I wonder, will this be happening a lot?
Will certain books and movies take on a whole other meaning as we get older?
For the record? The scene shown below illustrates my point. I CANNOT watch it without sobbing.
And that is something new for me.