Five People You Meet in Heaven

Five People You Meet in Heaven

This 2004 made-for-television movie is better than the book

One of my favorite movies is Mitch Albom's "Five People You Meet in Heaven". Based on the book of the same name, the 2004 made-for-television movie stars Jon Voight, Ellen Burstyn, Jeff Daniels and Michael Imperioli.  I’m generally not a fan of movie adaptations of good books, as they always seem to fall short of the book. There are those few rare adaptations that are better than the book they are based on, and "Five People You Meet in Heaven" is one of those.

83-year-old Eddie, played by Voight, is the maintenance supervisor at Ruby Pier Amusement Park. While making his rounds in the park, he sees that a cable is about to break on one of the high tower rides. As the car begins to fall, Eddie notices that there is a little girl directly under the falling ride. He races to move her out of the way. Although you don’t witness it, you can only assume that Eddie has perished under the falling car.

The next thing you see is Eddie, with a blue man. In flashbacks and memories, we learn the story of the blue man and his connection to Eddie. The blue man tells Eddie that he is in Heaven, and that he must meet five people who have influenced his life before he can continue on his journey. The blue man is the first of the five people. Eddie does not know who the others will be. As they are revealed to Eddie, he remembers the impact they had on his life, and learns about the impact he had on theirs.