A beautiful day in the neighborhood – a must see

My wife and I watched the wonderful movie about Mister Rogers called “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” on Friday. The film stars Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers, the ideal candidate for the role due to the kindness of both. Matthew Rhys co-stars as Esquire writer Lloyd Vogel, Susan Kelechi Watson as Vogel’s wife and Chris Cooper as Vogel’s estranged father.

For those not familiar with Mister Rogers, he had a long running kids show called “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” where he openly talked to kids about life’s tough problems – sadness, anger, divorce, disability, bigotry, and even death. Through his guests, cast members, puppets, music, and site visits, he reached the kids. As he told Vogel, “if something is mentionable, it is manageable.”

Why Vogel’s name appears so often is the story is about the profound impact Rogers had on Vogel during an interview about heroes his magazine was doing. Without revealing too much, Vogel was struggling with his relationship with his own father as he was dealing with being a new father. He called himself a “broken man.”

Since Vogel was an investigative reporter, he expected to find the real Mister Rogers too good to be true. Instead, over the course of their interaction, Vogel’s faith in himself is restored by Rogers.

I will stop there, so as not to reveal too much. The movie is based on a real life interview for Esquire, although the name of the interviewer has been changed. My eife and I both found it rewarding and had our favorite moments. We encourage you to see it and let us know what you think below. For those who have not, you may want to avoid the comments beforehand.

9 thoughts on “A beautiful day in the neighborhood – a must see

      • I surely will, but it will be a while, for I have to wait for it to come out on video. The last movie I tried to go to was back around 2000, and it was a complete bust, for I couldn’t understand more than maybe 25% of what was being said, and I had to keep nudging Chris, asking what he/she had said, which rather ruined it for her too.

      • Jill, I understand. There is a sign language teaching moment that the occurs in the back half of the movie which plays a key visual moment. Hanks does an excellent job at getting Rogers’ pacing as he spoke. Keith

    • Janis, you are right about the cost. We have stopped buying the popcorn and drinks which saves a lot. Plus, if I drink a water, I will miss some of the movie at my age. Keith

  1. Hi, Keith. Anne and I will be waiting for this movie to be streamed on TV. Anne needs closed captioning to enjoy any kind of programming. The trailer on TV looked great. I think Tom Hanks is a fabulous actor – unlike others who just play themselves in every screen/TV role.

  2. Note to Readers: In a PBS documentary about Mister Rogers, I remember a few highlights as context for the current movie.
    – Mister Rogers had an African-American policeman on his show and to demonstrate we are all the same, they took their shoes off and shared a wading pool on a hot day. This sounds so trivial now, but made a huge statement then.
    – Mister Rogers had a wheel-chair bound boy on his show and talked openly and in a heartfelt manner to him about his disability. Singing a song with him, the boy just beamed. And, people learned.
    – In one show at a research zoo, Mister Rogers sat with a gorilla who could read sign language. The gorilla sensed Mister Rogers’ kindness as they sat on the floor together. His wife said later, if she had been there, she would not have let it happen.
    – Finally, in the early 1970s, when funding of PBS was in jeopardy, he quite obviously charmed a curmudgeon of a Senate Committee chair with a song about kids not acting on anger as an example of what they teach. PBS got its funding.

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