Films of Endearment
A Mother, a Son, and the '80s Films That Defined Us
Michael Koresky

Hanover Square/May, 2021

"I'm not sure I have ever read a book about movies that is as tender and open-hearted as Films of Endearment. It is many things at once--a son's rich and loving portrait of his mother, a gay man's gentle coming-of-age story, and an astute and generous critic's rescue mission. By exploring unfashionable 'women's pictures' from an unfashionable decade and raising them to their proper place in movie history, Michael Koresky gives us a new way to look at the kind of movies we don't talk about enough even though they live inside so many of us. His deeply touching book reminds us that all movies are personal, and that any good film can be a gateway to revelation." —Mark Harris, New York Times bestselling author of Mike Nichols: A Life

"This is a book about the movies by a critic whose generosity and affection for film is inherited and revisited with loving detail. This is a book about a mother, Leslie—about her joys, her life, and how she furnished a home on Walnut Road full of fierce attachments, pure fun, and Jane Fonda. I was unprepared for how moving this experience would be. I appreciate Michael’s recall for that magical thing only the movies can provide—a sort of invincible stupor." —Durga Chew-Bose, author of Too Much and Not the Mood

"Films of Endearment is a lovely and loving book, a son's tribute to his remarkable mother and to the 1980s films and actresses that gave the two of them a common language and timeless bond. Koresky creates a marvelous tapestry that weaves fascinating stories about the making of these films with tales from his mother’s life and from his own, growing up gay in an extraordinary, ordinary American household. When mother and son decide to rewatch the movies from this era that they most love, they discover a powerful truth: that the greatest gift parents and children can give one another at any age is to share their true selves.”—Will Schwalbe, New York Times bestselling author of The End of Your Life Book Club

“Anytime I’d arrive from wherever I was living to Philadelphia, where I’m from, there was always this moment of visceral comfort at the exclamation of joy in my mother’s voice even before I stepped across her threshold. This book reconstitutes all of that warmth, love, and familiarity. Only, with an ingenious addition. This is simultaneously the story of Michael Koresky’s life with the woman who raised him, the story of her life, and a fragrant rumination on her movie memories and cinematic counterparts. Koresky allows the movies to evoke old feelings as well as expand our understanding of a bygone filmmaking priority: tremendous women, tremendously human women. More than once, I wiped my eyes and concluded that they don’t make ’em like they used to. That should change.” —Wesley Morris, Critic at Large, The New York Times

"A spellbinding journey through the cinema of the 80s and its remarkable female protagonists as seen through the eyes of a mother and son. Leslie, the New England working woman and mother who instilled a passion for movies in her child, is no less remarkable in her way than the heroines of Working Girl, 9 to 5, Aliens, or The Fabulous Baker Boys. Superb evaluations of the films lead seamlessly into portraits of family life, reflections on loss and secret yearnings, that are a testimonial to the way films nourish and connect us."—Molly Haskell, author of Frankly My Dear: “Gone With the Wind” Revisited

“Films of Endearment is a masterful blend of memoir and movie appreciation. Through their shared language of 80s film, a son seeks to unlock the backstory of his number one leading lady – his mom. A much needed tribute to the strong female characters on screen and in our homes, whose love and badassery shape the people we become.”—Meredith May, author of The Honey Bus: A Memoir of Loss, Courage and a Girl Saved by Bees

"Michael Koresky brings us on a nostalgic, incisive, and deeply moving journey through the films of the 1980s, a decade when unlikely leading ladies delivered performances of a lifetime. Koresky's mother gets top billing above Jane Fonda, Sigourney Weaver, and Shirley MacLaine, and deservedly so: A force in her own right, she is the unsung hero from whom he inherited a life-altering love of movies. Written with clear eyes and compassion, this book is film criticism at its finest and most personal."—Erin Carlson, author of Queen Meryl: The Iconic Roles, Heroic Deeds, and Legendary Life of Meryl Streep

"One of our most generous and engaged critics, Koresky has written a beautiful book that is at once a deeply touching and open-hearted tribute to his relationship with his mother, an emotionally naked rebuke to snobbishness, and an ardent (and probing) love letter to the studio filmmaking of a traditionally maligned decade." —Ari Aster director of Hereditary and Midsommar

"Films of Endearment is a profoundly moving memoir, and a loving tribute to the power of cinema to connect and transform us. Koresky is a stunning writer."—Peter Kispert, author of I Know You Know Who I Am

"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."—Library Journal

Michael Koresky is the author of Films of Endearment, published by Hanover Square Press in May 2021, as well as Terence Davies, published by University of Illinois Press in 2014 for its Contemporary Film Directors series. Koresky is Editorial Director at New York's Museum of the Moving Image. Previously he was Director of Editorial and Creative Strategy for Film at Lincoln Center; Director of Publications and Marketing for New York's Metrograph Theater; and Managing Editor and Staff Writer for The Criterion Collection, where he continues to work as a freelance online programmer, most recently for the series Queersighted, which he also hosts. He has written for Film Comment, The Criterion Current, Sight & Sound, Cinema Scope, The Village Voice, Film Quarterly, Cineaste, and Filmmaker, and co-founded and edits Reverse Shot, an independent film magazine founded in 2003 that became an official Museum of the Moving Image publication in 2014 (“an online film journal whose continued existence asserts the vibrancy of both films and journals”—The Wall Street Journal). Koresky was named one of the "100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture" by Brooklyn Magazine in 2016.