“Dying is just one thing to be sad about. Living unhappily, that’s another matter.” – Morrie Schwartz
Number of Times Seen – At least 3 times (TV in ’99, 9 Jan 2011 and 8 Apr 2018)
Brief Synopsis – A sports writer reconnects with his college professor who is dying of ALS yet refused to give up enjoying life.
My Take on it – The novel that this film is based on became a popular bestselling novel after Oprah Winfrey got her hands on it.
She helped promote the book for years as being one of the best ever written and then went on to produce this film based on the story.
The book is truly amazing and insightful to read and watching the characters on screen brings back the flood of memories of having enjoyed the book so much back then.
This is a story about courage in the face of an unwinnable situation yet still gives us such an emotional and memorable event to cherish.
Both Hank Azaria (Mitch Albom) and Jack Lemmon (Morrie Schwartz) are superb here and they help us learn so much about these characters along the way.
This is a relatively short film of only 90 minutes which is based on an also short novel yet it is filled with so much wisdom for us to carry on with us.
It’s easy to see how this story is so personal for its writer Mitch Albom (who I was familiar with as a sport writer in my hometown of Detroit in the late 80’s/early 90’s.) and that in turn makes the story personal for the viewer too.
Loved the way that this film shows the personal journey that Albom took during the story arc and how his life was changed by these visits with his former mentor.
The wisdom that Schwartz manages to impart on us all is priceless and profound since we get the perspective of a man with very little to lose as he tries to still enjoy his life during such trying times.
This film managed to win 4 Emmy (out of 5) – Best Made for TV Film, Best Actor (Lemmon), Best Supporting acor (Azaria) and Best Camera editing; it lost for sound mixing.
In addition, Lemmon won a SAG Award for Best Actor in a TV movie.
If you’ve never seen this film or read the book, it’s about time you did!
Bottom Line – Excellent film that tells such an emotional and memorable story. Azaria and Lemmon are both wonderful here and we really learn so much about both of their characters despite this being a short film based on a short book. This film is so personal and it shows throughout the way that Albom’s life was changed by his meetings with his former teacher. The wisdom imparted on the world by Schwartz is priceless and will remain so profound because we get to see and hear how he chooses to continue to enjoy life even in the most dire of circumstances. Highly Recommended!
MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Hank Azaria was mistakenly credited as “Frank Azaria” in the original promotional poster for this film. (From IMDB)
Rating – Oscar Worthy (9/10)
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