Movie Review – Tuesdays with Morrie (1999)

Am I leading the life I want to lead. Am I person that I want to be. If we accept the fact we can die at any time we lead our lives differently – Morrie Schwartz

Jack Lemmon as Morrie Schwartz in Tuesdays with Morrie (1999)
Jack Lemmon as Morrie Schwartz in Tuesdays with Morrie (1999)

As a sports journalist Mitch Albom (Hank Azaria) is always on the go, covering one sporting event after another and always in a race against time to meet deadlines. It is little wonder that his girlfriend, Janine (Wendy Moniz), is beginning to question whether they have a future together despite knowing full well that they both love each other deeply. But it is in one of those moments where Mitch finds himself doing a dozen things at once that he sees his old professor, Morrie Schwartz (Jack Lemmon), on TV being interviewed as he is dying having been diagnosed with ALS and is determined to use his experience to help others. It leads to Mitch flying to Boston to visit Morrie but it also leads to Mitch returning every Tuesday as Morrie sets about teaching Mitch how to truly live.

This is the first of what is likely to be a few movie reviews on the Slanting-N and I might mention once or twice in those reviews a TV channel which airs in the UK called True Entertainment. I will more than likely mention it again because this channel tends to air the wholesome, family friendly types of movies which as I have got older I have found myself drawn to, plus they show re-runs of The Waltons, another love of mine. And it was on True Entertainment that I discovered “Tuesdays with Morrie” which I will get straight to the point and tell you this is one of those great life lesson movies which make you consider how you live your life and how you can improve it but with never being preachy.

Now “Tuesdays with Morrie” is not the most complex of movies as we watch Mitch, who is wrapped up in his work as a writer, reconnecting with the professor he lovingly refers to as coach and over a series of Tuesdays is taught a series of lessons. Basically with each week which passes we see Mitch broken down bit by bit as he learns the greatest lesson of all, we must learn how to love others and also to let yourself be loved. And it is beautiful to watch as we see Mitch’s emotional barriers broken down by his closeness to Morrie who he ends up caring for, learning how to help his wife and his nurse do what they need to do. I tell you what, I reckon I could spend a couple of hours if I wished writing down all the wonderful life lessons and insightful quotes which are in this movie and it makes it a joy to watch.

Hank Azaria as Mitch Albom in Tuesdays with Morrie (1999)
Hank Azaria as Mitch Albom in Tuesdays with Morrie (1999)

What also makes “Tuesdays with Morrie” a joy to watch is the combination of Jack Lemmon and Hank Azaria who bring to life the characters of Morrie and Mitch. With Jack Lemmon’s mischievous twinkle in his eye you real get a sense that Morrie has found the secret to life, you get more from loving others, and as such you get a real sense of the compassion Morrie has for Mitch. It is the same with Hank Azaria as he brings to life the aspect of Mitch being a man afraid to truly love in case he ends up being hurt yet that sense that Mitch loves Morrie like a father figure is right there from the word go.

On a more technical note it is worth mentioning two things which are that “Tuesdays with Morrie” is a made for TV movie and that the UK DVD release of the movie has a PG certificate. The version which I have watched is the one shown on TV and there was nothing in it, be it sex, smoking or violence which might be upsetting to some.

I will finish this review of “Tuesdays with Morrie” mentioning one of my favourite scenes; it is where Mitch arrives at Morrie’s home for the first time having promised to stay in touch after graduation but never did. The way Morrie warmly welcomes Mitch, embracing him from his wheelchair and not once chastising him for not staying in touch is beautiful and speaks volumes of the love this movie and the story embodies. As such if you are a fan of touching movies which are filled with life lessons I cannot praise “Tuesdays with Morrie” enough and it is a movie which I regularly return to when I am looking for something positive to watch when I want to unwind.

Tuesdays with Morrie (1999)
Tuesdays with Morrie (1999)

Cast: Jack Lemmon, Hank Azaria, Wendy Moniz, Caroline Aaron, Bonnie Bartlett , John Carroll Lynch, Cloud Michaels, Terri Hanauer, Kyle Sullivan
Director: Mick Jackson
Length: 89 mins
Genre: Biography, Drama, TV Movie

You can buy Tuesdays With Morrie from Amazon by clicking here

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