A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is the first biopic that matters in ages. By bending what it means to be a biopic, we dive into an outsider’s memory of meeting the figure at the heart of the story. What could’ve easily been a paint-by-numbers story of Mr. Rogers’ life becomes something closer to reality. A look at how the powers of the Rogers persona impacts the world.
Tom Hanks wasn’t quite Mr. Rogers, but he managed to tap into what made the man work. A peaceful man who spent a career in children’s television, he was committed to a mission that few understood. How can you save the world by enriching children. In a society where kids are loud, obnoxious and constantly demanding attention…it takes a genius to look past the surface faults.
Being nice in this day and age is the hardest thing in the world. I feel the deep desire in what passes for my soul to understand and try to bring people together. However, the world has a way of ruining you. That’s not some mopey LiveJournal take, but it’s true.
Your experiences as an adult or teenager growing up in a world that doesn’t share the desire to be kind will ultimately tear you down. Whether you completely collapse or sacrifice a little bit of your armor is up to you. But, you’re going to lose something to gain something. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is indirectly a movie about what Rogers lost for his audience to gain.
I would’ve rated the film higher if Haller would’ve pressed on the questions asked by Matthew Rhys and the real Tom Junod. Why did Rogers stop for a period in the 70s? How much did his kids resent his work as teenagers? Many found fault in focusing so much on Rhys in the film, but it’s almost like a semi-fictional case study that highlighted the powers of Rogers.
In one scene, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood attributes Zen like religious awe to a Pittsburgh Dad. Some might call him a child’s first Pop psychologist, but it’s needed. In a time where society thinks that slight avoidance of kids equals to protecting them, no one really asks a kid to go quiet and think.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood respects that sentiment and the man that fostered it for decades.