This past Friday I saw A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood. In case you don’t know this is the long-awaited movie in which Tom Hanks plays Mister Rogers. I have a few points with this movie I would like to discuss, without giving away too much info. First: Tom Hanks. He was PHENOMENAL as Mister Rogers. Every little thing he did embodied Fred Rogers. His looks, gentility, mannerisms…everything was spot on! I am not going to lie. I thought I was watching the actual Mister Rogers at times and not just an actor. Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers is nostalgia incarnate.
Having said that, the movie plot was kinda weird. The film is not specifically Mister Rogers based. The actual story was about a journalist named Lloyd Vogel. Lloyd is a reporter who has a negative reputation among the people he has interviewed, as well as a rocky relationship with his family, especially his dad.
So Lloyd gets a new assignment: interview Fred Rogers for a story on icons and heroes. At first, Lloyd is skeptical. He thinks it’s a “fluff piece” about a children’s entertainer. But as time and the film go on, Lloyd and Mister Rogers form a close friendship.
Overall I’d say the movie is “good”. Apart from Tom Hanks, none of the movie really “wowed” me. As I expected and feared, parts of the movie were stylized and dramatized. Examples: Lloyd Vogel is not a real person. The interview and subsequent article are real, but parts of the film are just not accurate. The person who interviewed Mister Rogers was a journalist named Tom Junod. The friendship between the two men was real but highly overstated in the film.
The article that came out of the interview and the basis for the film as a whole is titled, “Can You Say…Hero?” The article is a GREAT piece of journalism. I have attached a link to it. I highly suggest you read it.
So for the film’s final score I am going to give it an 8.5/10. Again it is a good movie but if I am being completely honest, I expected more from the movie. But then again, the film did not meet my expectations which were absurdly high. I suggest you see it for yourselves if not just to take a trip down memory lane and back Inyo the Neighborhood of Mister Rogers.
So that’s my review of A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood. Let me know if you have seen the movie or if you are planning on seeing it. Thanks for reading!