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When she was 74yo, Bette Davis was still portraying women with such perfection that she won major awards for her performances. For her performance as Esther McDonald Cimino, Bette Davis won the prestigious Monte-Carlo TV Festival's 1983 Golden Nymph Award for Best Actress. This was her last major acting award! During the same year she was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress as Alice Gwynne Vanderbilt, the family matriarch, in "Little Gloria... Happy at Last," the true (enough) story of child heir to a family fortune, Gloria Vanderbilt, & the merciless estrangement from her mother. (Though this occured during a different period & between a different class of people, the story is oh so similar to the media frenzied 1 about Anna Nicole Smith's daughter. I'd write a review about "Little Gloria..." but there's no item on on sale; thus, I can't!).
This story goes: Esther Cimino is a widowed music teacher who's aged enough to retire. Her greedy sons want control of her life when they realize her mental faculties are slightly diminishing. In order to achieve their goals, Mrs. Cimino's sons force her to be subjected to a court hearing whereby a judge will determine if she is competent to live independently, as she wishes. Unnerved by the pressures of being interrogated & humiliated during the hearing, Esther Cimino's 'fuzzy' responses seem unclear enough to the judge to side with her sons, who (dis)place her in a nursing home. Without music or other serious self-directed stimulation, Mrs. Cimino begins to deteriorate emotionally, spiritually & mentally.
Being a musically talented woman who ran her home & music store, full of the kind of pride any independent business woman has who's still very intelligent & highly sensitive, declared mentally incompetent by her own children crushes her spirits. Fortunately, there are more members of her family! In particular, one who adores Mrs. Cimino. She also has a wonderful 'long-lost' friend reappear. Because of their love & actions, Mrs. Cimino fights back with dignity for her independence & regains it.
Both the character & her portrayal are worthy of Bette Davis taking this true-to-everyday-life leading role. Once again, Miss Davis is courageous enough to play a woman her own age, who is not as attractive as she is & deals with a subject of personal, social & political importance & controversy: ageism.
Only 5 years later, Bette Davis would face her own severe health crises & have to relearn how to live an independent life. Davis continued to sat in lead roles after she was quite unwell. This grateful (re)-viewer considers Miss Davis' honesty & courage most remarkable~