Films of Endearment: A Mother, a Son and the ’80s Films That Defined Us

Hanover Square: Harlequin. May 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781335773791. $27.99. FILM
Motion pictures enthrall us with compelling narratives about fictional lives; Koresky (editorial director, Museum of the Moving Image; Terence Davies) illustrates how movies also illuminate our own lives and, as shared experiences, allow us to connect with the lives of others. Approaching his 40th birthday, Koresky launches a project to rewatch movies of the 1980s with his mother, Leslie. He identifies that decade as unique for having compelling leading roles for American actresses. These are formative movies he watched during his childhood, ones he was introduced to by his mother. Often they are VHS rentals that evoke his childhood home, where his mother still lives. A rewatch of Nine to Five invites Leslie to discuss her own work experience. Queer representation in Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean leads to revisiting the author’s coming-out phone call and Leslie’s loving support. Crossing Delancey reminds them of seders past and inspires Leslie to host one—a plan sadly thwarted by the pandemic.
VERDICT A skilled film critic, Koresky guides readers through salient plot points instead of rehashing entire films, but his real talent is using cinema as a starting point for conversation. This intimate, probing work will appeal to hard-core cinephiles, lovers of memoirs, and many other readers.
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