Less interested in positing the 50s as a mythical singularity than in restoring the intervening thirty-year period as cinematic rhythm, momentum and ambience, Terms Of Endearment offers a series of vignettes in the life of Aurora Greenaway (Shirley MacLaine) and her daughter, Emma (Debra Winger), which collectively trace a rough narrative of generational migration and decline. In the process, this thirty-year period becomes the lost object concealed behind that of a mythologised 50s, anticipating a generation coming to terms with not having parents, and therefore having to look to grandparents for aesthetic and ethical cues. As a result, the 80s nostalgia mode is skewed towards something more uncomfortable and less sentimental than might be expected - a turn encapsulated in MacLaine and Winger's exquisitely atonal, brittle performances of "medium esteem", bolstered by the notorious tension between them on set. Winger's face is constantly convulsing, as if perpetually on the verge of sneezing, poised somewhere between a smile and a grimace, while MacLaine quivers with an extraordinary, frictive energy that forces her to dance, tiptoe or swerve around everything in her immediate line of vision, especially neighbour, former astronaut and love interest Garrett Breedlove (Jack Nicholson). Despite being added to Larry McMurtry's source novel by Brooks' screenplay adaptation, Nicholson's depiction of Breedlove is also exqusite, invoking the 50s association of the domestic and the cosmic only to puncture its sublimity: "when I went to see a United States astronaut lecture, I didn't expect him to prowl after us...I expected a hero!". It's the greatest suburban melodrama of the 80s, and at times approaches Preston Sturges in its kissing cross-nuances, as well as the way they build to something that is in comedy, but not of it - and, like Sturges, Brooks has just enough investment left in the mythology to mourn its loss; a eulogy for the romantic moment when front lawns caress and intermingle.