Tuesdays with Morrie is a television film that was produced by Mick Jackson in 1999. It is based on a memoir of Mitch Albom, an American author and main character of this story. The film describes the series of Tuesday meetings of Albom with his former professor of sociology. Morrie Schwartz suffers from a fatal disease. The lessons of life that Morrie gives to Mitch lie at the core of the film.
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Mitch Albom is a young man; he lives in Detroit and works as a sports journalist. He is under constant deadline pressure, always on the telephone, and has to do multiple things simultaneously. He loves his partner, Janine, but cannot give her enough attention due to his busyness, and he is afraid to marry as he supposes that any marriage leads to divorce. One day, Mitch sees on TV his former professor of sociology, Morrie Schwartz. Morrie used to be a cheerful man who loved to dance, enjoyed life, and inspired his students. However, he developed amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and is currently dying. Mitch decides to visit his professor and travels to Massachusetts. Morrie is excited to see his former student after sixteen years; he asks Mitch about his life, passion for music, marriage, and family. He notices that Mitch is not satisfied with his life and wants to meet with him every week to give him life lessons before death. Albom reacts skeptically; however, later, he feels that he needs to clarify his life and agrees to visit Morrie.
During their second meeting, Morrie, or Coach as he was called in a university, talks about age; he praises it as growth, not decay. He asks Mitch to come every Tuesday, and the next Tuesday, he remembers his family; Morrie’s mother has died, and his father married again. Being with Morrie, Mitch gradually learns how to postpone work, show emotions, and focus on important things in life. During the next meeting, Albom reveals that Janine left him because of his constant busyness and asks Morrie’s advice on how to fix this relationship. Morrie underlines that for people, there should be nothing more significant than love. Mitch writes a letter for Janine and gives her an engagement ring, they travel together to Morrie’s house, and Janine is enchanted by Coach and sings for him. Next time, Morrie speaks about the importance of forgiveness and love to each other. During their last meeting, Morrie describes his simple but ideal day if he gets a magic wand to have one day being healthy again, and Mitch finally cries. Morrie peacefully dies on Saturday, surrounded by his family as he always wanted.
Analysis of the Film
Main Themes of the Film
All main themes of the film are included in Morrie’s lessons he gives Mitch every Tuesday. He is talking about the importance of giving and take, not only material things but time, love, emotions, and experience. He admits that to accept love and care, to be dependent on someone is not shameful, he encourages Mitch not to be afraid of touches and tears to express feelings, and forgive everyone, every time, and for everything (“Tuesdays with Morrie,” 1999). Morrie says that time, compassion, and emotions are highly significant and priceless things to give.
The essential part of Morrie’s lessons is dedicated to life and death. Morrie knows that he will die soon, but he says that only life that does not find the meaning is afraid of death, and “when you know how to die, you know how to live” (“Tuesdays with Morrie,” 1999). He teaches Mitch that he should imagine a bird sitting on his shoulder, and every day he should ask it whether it will be his last day, and he wants it to be like this (“Tuesdays with Morrie,” 1999). Every day of life should be valued as it may be the last one.
Love is probably the main subject of Morrie and Mitch’s conversations. Morrie states that love is the most important and reasonable thing in the world that never ends, even after death. He notices that Mitch, like most people, is afraid of love and describes his father’s life. He emotionally narrates that his father was afraid of love, and he did not let Morrie remember his mother. Morrie had a grievance against him for this; however, at the end of his life, he starts to understand his father’s fears, forgives him, and feels upset that he did not tell him before how much he loved him. Morrie admits that instead of love for each other, people focus on wrong values like money and work that uses and degrades people.
Visual Expressions of Film’s Main Themes
Morrie’s great lessons of life and their importance are intensified by the director through the way how Morrie’s life and Mitch’s life are demonstrated. The time when Mitch visits Morrie, and they talk with each other is nearly always filled with warm light, yellow and orange colors of nature, pleasant music, singing, and benevolent, compassionate people. And by contrast, Mitch’s life and work are shown through cold, blue colors, constant noise, and vanity, arrogant or aggressive people. The director emphasizes the rightness of Morrie’s words and his way of life and opposes Mitch’s focus on wring things.
Nature, loved and praised by Morrie, is used in the film to show the end of his life. When Mitch meets his professor for the first time, there is a lot of sunshine and warmth. However, the weather is changing along with the deterioration in Morrie’s condition. Rains begin, and at the end of the film, when Mitch visits Coach for the last time, snow is falling (“Tuesdays with Morrie,” 1999). Here the death of nature symbolizes the death of the person.
Actors chosen for the roles of Mitch Albom and Morrie Schwartz have done their job on the highest level of professionalism. Jack Lemmon (Morrie Schwartz) conveys all emotions of his character; he shows that despite all his cheerfulness and optimism, Morrie is suffering and struggling with reality. Morrie looks as if he had accepted his state; he takes pleasure in any minute of his life, jokes, smiles, though suddenly his eyes fill with tears when he starts to remember and talk about the past, his mother, or nature.
Hank Azaria (Mitch Albom) excellently plays the role of Mitch Albom as well. Moreover, this actor has a suitable appearance and kind eyes as it is highly essential for this role. Although Mitch devotes all his time to work and follows the wrong values, he is not a cynical and heartless man. He loves music and his woman; he is ready to show his compassion and affection to others. The conversations with Morrie help him to remember who he actually is, reconsider his life, and focus on the right things.
This film is highly impressive, and it makes me start thinking about my own life. I started to reconsider it and evaluate how much time I give to significant things in life, like family and love. Unfortunately, modern culture promotes wrong values, and people start to put money and career in the first place, they forget that the time spent with friends, life partners, and families is priceless, and it may be missed and never returned back as life is short.
I like the main heroes of the movie; Mitch Albom creates a positive impression from the beginning of the story. The way how he loves Janine and the fact that he decides to visit his professor, whom he saw last time sixteen years ago, show that he is a good person who probably lost the right way in life due to his fear of many things. Morrie teaches him not to be afraid to express his emotions, he encourages Mitch not to feel the shame of touches and tears, and it was highly satisfying to watch this transformation of a young man. The death of Morrie cannot leave any person indifferent, and the scene of Morrie and Mitch’s last meeting when Mitch cries provokes strong emotions. I would recommend this film to all people and hope it will help many of them to change their life.
Tuesdays with Morrie is a highly impressive film that describes the conversations of a sports journalist with his former professor, who gives him his last life lessons. He teaches his student that to love and forgive each other, share positive emotions and experiences, and appreciate every moment of life is priceless. This film makes a significant number of people worldwide understand themselves better and reevaluate their ambitions.
Jackson, M. (Director). (1999). Tuesdays with Morrie [Video file]. Web.