For One More Day
An Oprah Winfrey Presentation
Produced By: Harpo Films
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I remember standing in line at Starbucks, waiting for my coffee, and noticing a book on display at the counter. The local Starbucks will often display a book or CD that the company recommends. This time around, it was a book by Mitch Albom called For One More Day. I remember reading the dust jacket and thinking that this book looked interesting. However, having a stack of books waiting for me at home and just enough money to pay for a cup of coffee at Starbucks’ outrageous prices, I decided to pass on the book.
Then, about two weeks ago, I started seeing previews for a new Oprah Winfrey Presentation. The storyline was very recognizable to me – it was that book that I passed up in the Starbucks coffee shop. The movie version of For One More Day was to air on ABC on December 9, 2007. Having watched a few of the Oprah Winfrey Presents films, I knew that Harpo Films would do a good job adapting this book to film. On December 9th, I sat myself down in front of the television to watch Oprah Winfrey Presents: Mitch Albom’s For One More Day.
Michael Imperioli stars in this film as Chick Benetto, a washed-up baseball player who uses alcohol to drown the pain of losing his dream and the guilt of not being with his mother on the day she died. As his alcoholism worsens, he begins to lose everything important to him. His family leaves him. His co-workers will no longer cover for him. Upon learning he was not invited to his own daughter’s wedding, Chick sets out on a journey to his hometown, bent on removing himself from this world and ending all of the pain he has caused. Just as he is on the verge of taking his own life, Chick is visited by a woman he never thought he would see again – his long departed mother.
For One More Day is a story about secrets and redemption. In discovering the truth behind his family’s secrets, Chick is cleansed of guilt and despair. Things that were so cloudy in his life become clearer. Galvanized by his mother’s honesty, Chick is able to be honest with himself and see the truth behind his despair. Thus, he recognizes the path to his redemption in his daughter’s eyes.
Yes, the idea is old – a man who has sunk into hopeless despair being visited by a ghost and shown the way. And yet, I found myself fully enthralled by this tale, unable to leave it until a commercial broke the trance. Michael Imperioli’s performance as Chick Benetto was entirely believable and the casting of Vadim Imperioli in his first role as the young Chick Benetto was spot on. Ellen Burstyn was delightful as Chick’s mother Posey, a woman full of piss and vinegar despite her age. Samantha Mathis was terrific as young Posey, a hardworking woman whose goal in life was to raise her children to be educated individuals with every opportunity available to them. Scott Cohen was downright despicable in his role as Chick’s father.
The story - an old idea with a new twist – and the acting – well-done and completely believable – combined to create a wonderful television viewing experience. And yes, For One More Day is a tear-jerker as you reach the end, so keep the tissues handy, but by all means, make every effort to see this film. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.