A Beautiful Day in the NeighborhoodA Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Year: 2019
Rating: PG
Length: 109 minutes / 1.82 hours

There’s one quote in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) that sums up the entire movie. “This isn’t really about Fred Rogers.” Considering this film was based on the magazine article that is central to the plot, it’s no wonder that Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks) is merely an ancillary character to the events that happen in Lloyd Vogel’s (Matthew Rhys) life. While Mr. Rogers’ gentle influence is undeniable, I can’t help but think that the recent documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (2018), is a better examination of his life’s work overall.

I do have to give kudos to Tom Hanks for taking on a challenging role that has many fond memories for tons of people. Hanks captured Fred Rogers’ soft-spoken demeanor and gentle mannerisms as best as only he could. Part of the trouble, though, is that Tom Hanks is so recognizable, that half the time I thought I was watching Fred Rogers, while the other half I couldn’t shake the fact that I was watching Tom Hanks acting. I’m not sure how to get around this, since Hanks’ star power is part of what sold this movie, and finding someone who looks more like Mr. Rogers and teaching them to act the role would have been much more difficult.

In the end, the main plot of a man overcoming family drama isn’t that spectacular of a story. It’s almost so commonplace as to be “ho-hum.” The meaningful crux of this film is definitely how Fred Rogers’ Christian values were able to show how the right thing to do isn’t always the easiest. The human condition often wants us to remain angry at those who have wronged us. This is why forgiveness is such a difficult concept to put into practice. Then again, Mr. Rogers was an expert at handling difficult concepts at a level that even children could understand them.

A movie not really about Mr. Rogers, I give A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood 3.0 stars out of 5.

255px-Five-pointed_star_svg 255px-Five-pointed_star_svg 255px-Five-pointed_star_svg

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *