Two-time Oscar®-winner Tom Hanks portray s Mister Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, a much-needed story of kindness triumphing over cynicism, based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. After a jaded magazine writer (Emmy winner Matthew Rhys) is assigned a profile of Fred Rogers, he overcomes his skepticism, learning about empathy, kindness, and decency from America’s most beloved neighbor.
Remember, this is a story based on the friendship between Fred Rogers and Tom Junod. I thought it was going to be more focused on Mr. Rogers, but it is not Fred’s story at all. It is so much more. It presents how Rogers works and thinks. It shows us that caring about someone else can be life-transforming. He teaches us that to become a genuinely functioning adult; everyone needs to remember what it was like to be a child first.
I love the way director Marielle Heller created the various scenes as an extension of the make-believe world of Mr. Rogers set. Instead of a real plane taking off, it is as if one of the models in Roger’s town was flying away.
The entire cast is excellent. They play off each other well, and you feel each emotion. Tom Hanks is wonderful as the kind, slow-paced, and understanding Mr. Rogers as he effortlessly moves into healer who empathizes with Lloyd. Matthew Rhys sensitively plays Lloyd as an irritable guy despite the fact he is a successful reporter with a prestigious magazine, has an encouraging wife, and is a new father.
Throughout the film, I was rooting for Lloyd to accept Mr. Roger’s sincere help.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, it is a film with a message that is much needed today. You will be better for it, and you may find yourself singing as you exit the theatre.