A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Some films are targeted at children, most at adults; this one is aimed directly at the child in each of us.
Fred Rogers is a very nice man. Lloyd Vogul, a hurt man-child who has been sent to interview Mister Rogers for Esquire magazine in 1998, has had a difficult relationship with his father (the name of the writer has been changed) but this story is ‘inspired by’ the true events of the meetings between the real life journalist, Tom Junod, and Mister Rogers. It is nostalgic, it is heart-felt, and it is quite revealing for, and about, everyone involved.
The screenplay shows Mister Rogers to be very skilled at helping children (read, people) come to terms with their emotional pain and hurt feelings. And it shows that he’s not perfect, although his humanity is almost saint-like. But, in my opinion, his use of, and gratitude for, empathy is brilliantly portrayed.
Having Tom Hanks play the role was perfectly ‘inspired’. Everyone loves both Tom and the man he inhabits. (It turns out that they are related, according to ancestry.com.)
The Real Thing
The Esquire Cover Story