I saw “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” the other day. I enjoyed it and I think you will as well. It’s not exactly what I was expecting but the surprise added to the success of the movie. I was expecting the movie to simply be a biography of Fred Rogers but that wasn’t quite the case. The movie didn’t even revolve around Mr. Rogers.
This film is a testament to how great of a show “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood” really was. I learned that the show was filmed in Pittsburgh, PA and Fred Rogers was a long time married man with two sons. None of this ever crossed my mind. The production of the show and Mr. Roger’s personal life was not something I ever questioned even as an adult. I bought into what the show was selling and I accepted that Mr. Rogers was a bachelor that lived a quiet life in the Land of Make Believe. It wasn’t weird to me at all.
I also learned that the mission of “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood” was to teach children how to process emotions. I watched the show as a child and I never realized I was being taught anything. I just watched adults talk to puppets while a train milled around and enjoyed it. How brilliant! I guess you have to sneak up on children like that.
“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” also revealed that Fred Rogers was real sweetheart. He was a baby doll that would melt the coldest of hearts if you got too close to him. Fred Rogers was brave because it takes bravery to extend yourself to a person in love and that’s what he did face to face and through his TV show.
Another great thing about the movie is that it is 109 minutes long. Over the last twenty years or so it seems that all movies have become very long. It’s to the point that a film needs to be very special to make me want to invest the time. But this delightful film didn’t waste time and I appreciate that.
I didn’t love this movie as much as some people. It’s not even my favorite Tom Hanks work. That distinction still belongs to “Bosom Buddies”. But it is a respectable, light hearted film about a very nice person. This movie is optimistic as opposed to the cynicism that we’ve all grown use to. If you get a chance take the time to watch it.