Movie Reviews

Published on November 22nd, 2019 | by Joseph Saulnier

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A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

When I first heard that Tom Hanks was playing Fred Rogers in a biopic, I was all on board. Who wouldn’t be? When I finally saw the film about a year and a half later, it was not the movie I was expecting. In such a fantastically good way.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood tells the story of the real life friendship between Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks) and journalist Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys, character based on real life journalist Tom Junod). Vogel is an investigative reporter for Esquire magazine in the late nineties and he is assigned a “puff” piece. The magazine was doing an issue on heroes, and Vogel was assigned Mr. Rogers, and would be a story unlike any other that he has written. After meeting and talking to Mr. Rogers for the first time, he couldn’t believe that this person was… well, perfect. Let’s be clear, Mr. Rogers is not perfect, but probably as close to perfect as many can imagine. So Vogel did what he does best. He started investigating. And during the course of his discoveries, he started to make discoveries about himself, and the relationships in his life, specifically with that of his father, Jerry Vogel (Chris Cooper).

This movie was so much more than I expected going in. I expected to tear up, I didn’t expect it to hit home the way show used to as I was growing up and watch the show well into my twenties. The cinematography was excellent. Many times it felt like I was watching the show as the movie essentially played out like an episode. The transitions were amazing, and the music was fantastic as well. They didn’t try to do anything artsy or new age with anything. All of the original themes and music was there. It was one of the most nostalgic movie going experiences I have ever had.

This is definitely a great movie to see, but do not mistake it for a children’s film, please. There are some very mature themes, language, and concepts. This is definitely meant to shine some light on the nature of human character versus the lessons taught by the legendary Mr. Rogers. That being said, go see it. It absolutely will not ruin your childhood.

5 out of 5 stars.


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