Yes, even we can’t escape their way of spelling with international distribution.
But that’s okay, because this film is some heart-warming sh*t.
Based off off an Esquire magazine article, we go on a journey with America’s second nicest man (Tom Hanks) playing America’s first nicest man (Fred Rogers) who wants to help a broken man (Matthew Rhys).
But is it all just fluff? Or will you be my neighbor?
Lloyd Vogel is an investigative journalist who receives an assignment to profile Fred Rogers, aka Mr. Rogers. He approaches the interview with skepticism, as he finds it hard to believe that anyone can have such a good nature. But Roger’s empathy, kindness and decency soon chips away at Vogel’s jaded outlook on life, forcing the reporter to reconcile with his own painful past.
Yeah, so the original author of ‘Can You Say…Hero?‘ is named Tom Junod. This in turn dictates the film being a bit of a fabrication of his exceptional article and time with one Fred Rogers.
If you don’t know who Mister Rogers is, that’s fine. More an American icon than globally, it’s only with the rise of the internet that his message has spread more.
“Be kind. Be kind. Be kind.”
Hard to forget and easy to remember, we experience through fantasy the simplicity of life when tackled with kindness. While not strictly fantasy, the movie dances around being an episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, with some Fourth-Wall Breaking interaction and a lot of warm feelings.
It starts by saying Lloyd Vogel is a great writer, then quickly sets up the how and why of it all. Director Marielle Heller excels in pulling us in and making us part of the story, rather than having us watch from the outside in. Little moments that slowly grab at you, all exceptionally delivered by Hanks as Rogers.
The rest of the cast is just as wonderful. Matthew Rhys comes off the back of his great work in The Americans, producing an excellent portrayal of a man who grows with us throughout the film. Chris Cooper continues strong showings with this and his work in Little Women, and Susan Kelechi Wilson is steadfast as Andrea Vogel, wife and Mister Rogers fan-girl. Also of note, Sister Mary Robert (Wendy Makkena) from Sister Act is in this, and I became a fan-girl too.
A film that’s necessary right now, what with everything happening outside our doors, A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood simply asks you to be kind. It epitomises the sentiment Fred Rogers wished to share with his work, and does so as succinctly as he did.
I’d love to meet the heartless creature that doesn’t walk out of this movie motivated to do better; To be better. Because like Mister Rogers said:
“There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.”
I've felt so warm since I viewed this film that I've had to check my temperature to make sure I wasn't sick.
I am not, and it simply is that this film is just so, so nice and beautiful and...kind.