Approaching his 40th birthday, a film critic embarks upon a project with his mother—whom he credits with his love of the medium—to watch influential movies starring women from their shared cinematic past. 1980s films like 9 to 5, Terms of Endearment, The Color Purple and Working Girl are explored alongside childhood memories, including his developing consciousness as a gay man.
Koresky, a writer accustomed to turning his critical eye outward, professes discomfort at turning it inward to write about himself. That discomfort doesn’t show in Koresky’s tender depiction of a loving mother-son relationship and the passion for film it fostered. Koresky’s film writing is incisive and confidant but always approachable, never so academic that it loses its heart ... Films of Endearment moves with a beautiful universality that will inspire readers not only to revisit the '80s films of the book, but to set out on film journeys of their own.
... [a] charming and moving mix of memoir and movie appreciation ... an empowering, surprising and unforgettable tribute to strong women in films—and in the audience ... [an] unforgettable and moving tale of a mother and son reliving their past by rewatching favorite films from the 1980s.
Koresky’s complicated relationship with age and mortality inflects much of Films of Endearment, as the absence of his father—who passed away years ago—leads him to reflect on ideas of home and permanence. He enters the decade of his 40s while working on the book, and he discusses his and his husband’s decision not to have children—a newly relevant question in the queer community that he lingers on in illuminating ways ... something of a time capsule, a loving archive of experiences aesthetic and otherwise ... there’s certainly no shortage of heart in these pages, the linkage between cinematic engagement and the development of the self both believably and affectionately rendered ... The push and pull of Films of Endearment’s two modes—personal and analytical—sometimes feels unbalanced, but the captivating insights into queer spectatorship, specifically the gay male gaze as it relates to female cinematic performance, help to elevate the book’s more expository stretches into something beyond mere journalism.