Morrie's Meaning of Life
"Tuesdays with Morrie" starts with an opening message from Oprah Winfrey about the book on which this movie is adapted and how the story of Mitch and Morrie resonates with everyone. I have never read the book, little surprise to those who frequent my movie reviews but was well aware of it and can say that after watching this movie I may actually change a habit of a lifetime and go and read the book. This is such a touching story and also a touching movie with an exceptional cast who make it an awakening, a gripping movie because of the meaning which is at the heart of it.
Mitch Albom (Hank Azaria - Mystery Alaska) has made an impressive career for himself as a top sports journalist always on the go flying from one place to another covering one game or another and is in a strained 7 year relationship with singer Janine (Wendy Moniz). But Mitch's non stop life comes to a grinding halt when he sees on the news that his college professor Morrie Schwartz (Jack Lemmon - Glengarry Glen Ross) is dying from Lou Gehrig disease. Feeling guilty that he has not seen him in 16 years despite having promised to stay in touch Mitch flies to Boston to see him and is shocked to see his once vibrant mentor a shadow of himself but still full of wisdom. After a fleeting visit Mitch still can't get Morrie out of his head especially when Morrie left him with the words that he has the most important lesson to teach, how to live and ends up returning to Boston every Tuesday to spend more time with him.
Now this isn't going to be an in-depth movie review because not only is this a movie which is overflowing with moments, performances and wisdom but also this is a movie of discovery, a movie which is best watched with no great knowledge of what is going to happen. But let's state the obvious for the sake of it and Mitch's reconnecting with Morrie leads to him learning some huge lessons about what is important in life. But it is the way the story is told with warmth, wisdom and humour which makes it so truly special as there are lots of movies about people learning life lessons but not like this, not achieving that same level of connection as "Tuesdays with Morrie" attains and maintains for its duration.
But on top of the great writing "Tuesdays with Morrie" has the bonus of two great actors starting with Hank Azaria as Mitch because he not only is believable as a hectic journalist who is all about a career but the way he thoughtfully transforms as he spends time with Morrie is enchanting. Enchanting is no where close the right word to describe Jack Lemmon's performance as Morrie but let's be honest do you expect anything less. Lemmon's turn of phrase, the funny lines, the mannerisms and that look in his eyes of love and wisdom as well as mischief just makes you want to listen to everything he has to say.
What this all boils down to is that "Tuesdays with Morrie" is one of those movies which whilst not one of the great movies is a movie which everyone should see at least once in their life. It may tell a familiar sort of story but it is so full of depth, so warm, so humorous and so moving that it is impossible not to love it.