The popularity of the documentary “Won’t you be my neighbor”, released in June 2018 about the children’s television show Mr Rogers, is most likely the reason “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”, was made. Very surprisingly, this film is not really about the life story of Fred Rogers or Mr Rogers, it is really a about a true story about a broken man, Tom Junod who just happened to write a now famous article for Esquire about Mr Rogers in November 1998 called “Can you say … Hero?”. This article was so well written it made the cover of Esquire for November 1998.
What is most impressive about this movie, was the decision to not make this story into a biopic about Mr Rogers, but rather to show what a great man Fred Rogers was by using this one small chapter in his life, when he went out of his way to show empathy towards a reporter, who was a total stranger and who was having a very hard time in his life. Many of us know first hand what a rare commodity empathy is in today’s world. People have their own problems and few have the time, energy or desire to step out of themselves and imagine and ultimately understand what someone else is suffering through. What this very good movie showed more than anything else is that Fred Rogers was 100% genuine and there was nothing fake about this man who hosted a children’s TV show from 1968-2001. Fred Rogers cared very deeply about other people and as this movie stated several times, people like “Tom Junod” are his favorites; because they are broken and they need help.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood stars Tom Hanks and based on his great performance in this movie, I expect he will receive another Oscar nomination. Other actors in this film include Chris Cooper , who plays Tom Junod’s father, Matthew Rhys as Tom Junod and Susan Kelechi Watson who is one of the very good actors who appears on the great TV series “This is Us”. The acting in this movie is outstanding throughout.
The ratings for this film are an extremely high 96% on Rotten Tomatoes and due to the acting and the great message about empathy and the difficulties in dealing with life, I agree with this very high rating and recommend this movie.