The Evening Star is a 1996 American comedy-drama film and a sequel to Academy Award for Best Picture-winning Terms of Endearment, starring Shirley MacLaine, who reprises the role of Aurora Greenway, for which she won an Oscar for playing in the original film. The script is by Larry McMurtry, based on his novel, and Robert Harling, who also served as director.
The story takes place about fifteen years after the original, following the characters from 1988 to 1993. It focuses on Aurora's relationship with her three grandchildren, her late daughter Emma's best friend Patsy and her longtime housekeeper Rosie. Along the way Aurora enters into a relationship with a younger man, while watching the world around her change as old friends pass on and her grandchildren make lives of their own.
Miranda Richardson co-stars as a Houston divorcee and Aurora's rival, Patsy Carpenter. Juliette Lewis plays Aurora's rebellious granddaughter, Melanie Horton, with Marion Ross as Aurora's housekeeper (Golden Globe nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category) and Bill Paxton as Aurora's psychiatrist and lover. The movie was Ben Johnson's last, in a career that spanned over 60 years. The film is dedicated to him. Jack Nicholson returns in an extended cameo appearance, playing the role he played in Terms of Endearment, retired astronaut Garrett Breedlove.
The Evening Star received unfavorable reviews from critics and failed to recoup its budget at the box office.
Years have passed since the death of her daughter, Emma. Aurora Greenway is still her usual strong, willful self, but all is not well with the three grandchildren she raised after Emma's death, particularly eldest boy Tommy, who is serving time in jail on a drug charge.
Younger grandson Teddy now has a girlfriend and a son. Melanie (who is both the youngest and the only girl out of the three grandkids), is all but grown and still living with Aurora at home but giving a serious thought to moving out. Aurora's only true companion is housekeeper Rosie, particularly now that a man she's been spending time with, the General, is a friend, not a romance.
Her late daughter's old friend, Patsy, still has a home in Houston and thinks of herself as Aurora's friend now, dispensing advice to Melanie, something that Aurora doesn't appreciate.
Rosie is being courted by an elderly gentleman named Arthur, who has bought astronaut Garrett Breedlove's former house next door. On seeing how lonely Aurora obviously is, Rosie tricks her into seeing a licensed counselor, Jerry, to whom Aurora admits that she's still seeking "the love of my life."
Thoroughly unprofessional in almost every way, Jerry jumps into a romantic situation with Aurora himself. However, he has an ulterior motive, which she soon learns. Aurora is cheered up only by a brief visit from Garrett, who advises her to find that true love soon because "there aren't that many shopping days left till Christmas."
Needing a cause, Aurora decides to take charge after Melanie moves to California to try to become an actress. She is peeved to discover that Patsy has exactly the same idea. Melanie succeeds in landing a role on a television show. Aurora comes home to a new problem, however, when it turns out that Rosie is critically ill. She is left once more facing the prospect of being alone.Shirley MacLaine as Aurora Greenway
Bill Paxton as Jerry Bruckner
Juliette Lewis as Melanie Horton
Miranda Richardson as Patsy Carpenter
Ben Johnson as Arthur Cotton
Scott Wolf as Bruce
George Newbern as Tommy Horton
Marion Ross as Rosie Dunlop
Mackenzie Astin as Teddy Horton
Donald Moffat as Hector Scott
Jack Nicholson as Garrett Breedlove
China Kantner as Jane
Jake Langerud as Henry
Unlike Terms of Endearment, the film was not a box-office success, grossing only $12,767,815 (unadjusted) and received poor reviews from critics, as it currently holds a 23% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Roger Ebert, in his Chicago Sun-Times review of Dec. 27, 1996, described The Evening Star as "a completely unconvincing sequel," awarding it only one-and-a-half stars of a possible four.