Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) is tasked with creating a profile of Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks), the creator and star of the successful children’s program Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. He dutifully goes to the studio where his subject is filming his show, and soon enough, he is sitting down with him, asking him probing questions. However, Fred seems to have a different plan in mind. The interviewee suddenly becomes the interviewer, and he starts to help the writer sent for him in unexpected ways. The film, which is based on the 1988 Esquire cover story by Tom Junod, is directed by Marielle Heller.~Phil Griffin
Over 15 minutes of additional scenes
Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers
The people who make a neighborhood: the making of
Dreaming big, building small: the puppets & miniatures
"A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" manages a dizzying balance of subject matter, placing Mister Rogers' determined kindness against a horrifying backdrop of his interviewer's tragic life story. I don't know if this was marketed as a "Christian movie" per se, but Rogers' faith is on display throughout, particularly in his character and how he endeavors to brighten the world of everyone around him. An artistic complaint I've had about some Christian movies is that scenes of prayer sometimes look cheesy and halt the plot progress, but that doesn't happen here. Prayer is inserted into Rogers' daily life and is narrated over other events, but you always see how observant he is to the needs of others.
The journalist interviewing Rogers has endured a cavalcade of terrible life experiences, leading to a violent brawl with his father (showcased very early on in the movie and remarkably convincing for a live-action PG-rated film), and this movie answers another issue I've had with some more overtly Christian films — because of the Bible's necessary entanglements with the subjects of sex and violence, some Christian films (especially with the latter) don't know how disturbing their content is. But this movie feels like every ounce of its content, even the purposely inappropriate or discordant bits (the violence, the drug use, and a scene where another man's "trophy wife" is shown off, with a camera angle that focuses on the woman's chest), leads to a greater purpose instead of feeling gratuitous or intended to shock. I wouldn't recommend this movie for young children — [SPOILERS] the main journalist gets into an argument with his father so hostile that the latter collapses and winds up in the hospital while the former's wife, who I questioned many times how she never left him throughout the film, pleads with him to at least call 911, segueing into a really weird hallucination of a life-size Mister Rogers' Neighborhood [END SPOILERS] — but the aforementioned scene and its audacity, especially in light of its central subject and its rating, had my jaw dropping in a way that few movies ever do. The last one that comes to mind is Blade Runner 2049.
The movie's message is life-affirming, but more than that, this is the kind of movie that this subject matter needed. It's not doubted that Mister Rogers was a kindhearted person and will likely be long remembered as such, but the movie deftly demonstrates that this kindness and even idealism can still exist and thrive in a deeply cynical world, acknowledging that cynicism's deepest concerns about the ugliness of human nature without indulging them. The film isn't really a biopic about Rogers himself and never stops to throw in exposition about how "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" was pitched or developed, and it feels like a stronger film for omitting unnecessary elements. It's more of a message of a selfless man teaching an observant but bitter man how to love again.
From a production standpoint, the movie was gorgeous and is immensely appealing to look at, especially with the various sets and dioramas. Hanks' performance is flawless. The conclusion feels abrupt, but for a film like this, whose focus seems to be on its moral message toward its audience, it does a great job of saying, "Our story is done; go and live yours."
Great movie for people who know little about mr Rogers. Very inspiring, well done movie about a guy who wasn’t a fake. He was a great human being who knew how to love people with God’s unconditional love. We need more movies like this one. Many movies may make you laugh at some one else’s expense or thrill to someone’s’ stake heroism, but this one will touch your heart. Great movie.
Great movie. Tom Hanks does an excellent job of portraying Fred Rogers. The storyline moves along smoothly and intelligently. Not just a kid movie but a compelling story of Mr Rogers and his interaction with a perplexed magazine writer, the writer's family and the writer's estranged father.
My husband bought this using his best buy account and reviewed it, then we had our accounts merged, and all his old purchases are showing up on MY review page, so I'm re-reviewing so-to-speak to get the points.