The Evening Star

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Bennett

Plot: What’s it about?

The Evening Star is a continuing story of the much-loved saga about that began with the 1983 Best Picture Oscar winner Terms of Endearment. Another chapter takes place, and yes, life still spins around Aurora Greenway (Shirley MacLaine) like a cyclone. The generations have grown, and Aurora could use another drink. As with Terms of Endearment, one situation occurs after another with Aurora: from her granddaughter, Melanie Horton (Julie Andrews) wanting to leave with Mr. Wrong (Scott Wolfe); Patsy Carpenter(Miranda Richardson) still finding ways to meddle with her; Rosie Dunlop (Marion Ross), her long time housekeeper, wanting to ditch domestic work and face matrimony; Jerry Bruckner (Bill Paxton), her shrink, wanting to cross the boundary of client relationships; as well as close ones even passing away. Aurora is back, and she is delightfully feisty as ever!

It’s all Aurora can do to raise her grandchildren, maintain her friends, seek counseling, and keep her sanity. Melanie, Aurora’s granddaughter, insists on staying with Bruce (Mr. Wrong) much to Aurora’s dislike. Melanie, the youngest of the grandchildren, is caught sleeping with Bruce in Aurora’s house, moves out, and eventually ends up in LA. Meanwhile, Rosie wants to give up cleaning Aurora’s house after 40 years and pursue a marriage for the first time in her life, next door! Imagine!! As one episode after another continues, Aurora is sure that she doesn’t need any professional help but finds herself in the house of a licensed Counselor. Well, one visit couldn’t hurt with a much younger man, could it? You’ll have to see it for yourself if she goes back for more. On the other side of the wall is her grandson who has been up to nothing but trouble, in prison! Aurora saw him often, but there is no respect for the elderly on his part. Outside of the family, Patsy has been an enemy of Aurora’s for quite some time, but what part does she have in all of this? She was asked by Mrs. Horton, before she died, to help raise the children. Maybe she is part of the family after all. Aurora, a very take charge – in control person, is obviously thrilled that a much younger, wealthier woman feels the need to be a significant part in their lives. “Enemies are good for one thing,” Aurora stated,” making a person stronger.” This is a story about friends, family, and other natural disasters.

What a movie! At first, I wasn’t sure what to think about the continuing story, but I have nothing but great things to say about it. As many of you know, Terms of Endearment was very sad, but The Evening Star is full of laughter much from the 1983 Best Actress Award Winner, Shirley MacLaine. She was brilliant with one liners after another. This film, I think, will remind a lot of families about the challenges we all go through. The great comedy doesn’t come from the situations that surround Aurora (they are actually quite serious). It comes from the combination of relating her situations to the ones that once surrounded us, in which all we can do is laugh, and not to forget, how Aurora played with the cards that were dealt to her. It was also great to see the spark that was added late in the film with the appearance of Jack Nicholson playing the part, Garrett, who once had a large part in Aurora’s life. If you followed the story since 1983, and own it, it would be a shame if you didn’t add this final chapter to your heart warming collection. I’m definitely going to watch it again!

Video: How does it look?

For a title formatted on dvd, it didn’t impress me. Although the disc is obviously better than VHS, it had quite a few moments where dirt was very evident. The picture wasn’t bad, but it definitely could have been a lot better. Luckily, this isn’t Dinosaur where the story would have to be breath taking because of the large focus on the picture. You’re attention will be on the story, not the picture. Therefore, I didn’t get all worked up about it, nor should you. None the less, you would expect better quality on the DVD.

Audio: How does it sound?

The audio was much better. Once again, this isn’t Dinosaur or T2, but Paramount utilized the 5.1 channel some and had a few scenes where the surround gave the story a more life realizing situations. Most of the movie is about Aurora’s comments and disturbances and not large amounts of bass through rumbling or Airplanes flying through your living room, but the surround sound does add a lot. Much more than if it were in mono.

Supplements: What are the extras?

I was disappointed in the special features that came with this dvd. It was in widescreen format, which I definitely prefer, but other than being able to switch from several scenes, a theatrical trailer, and a commentary – that was it.

The commentary, by Robert Harling (Director), was a nice feature because it did explain why the characters surrounding Aurora behaved the way they did in certain roles as well as what was going through Aurora’s mind herself. It was a typical commentary all the way through the movie, but it does add some more humor watching this movie through the commentary also. The trailer was as good as any of them, but I thought for sure there would be some scenes from the earlier stories or maybe even some interviews from past actors. At the least, comments from Shirley MacLaine. For such a heart warming story, I thought there would have been a little more to look forward to in the special feature selection. It’s not the case for this title.

Disc Scores