Review: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Won't you be my neighbor?

Journalist Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) is a cynic. His estranged father Jerry (Chris Cooper) has just re-entered his life and his boss at Esquire Magazine takes him away from the investigative pieces he normally writes and has him profile Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks) instead. That interview changes his life.

I've always been aware of Mister Rogers but I never grew up watching him religiously. I'd catch an occasional episode here and there but it was never an after school thing for me like it was for many. Because of that, I was surprised at how much this film effected me. I cried like a baby consistently throughout.

Director Marielle Heller crafts this film like it's an extended episode of Mister. Rogers' Neighborhood. We open with him, the scene transitions are of toys traveling from one place to another, and Lloyd is profiled just as Mister Rogers would do for any of his guests. This isn't a Fred Rogers biopic, it's very much about Vogel and his struggles. His relationship with his wife, Andrea (Susan Kelechi Watson) and their newborn baby and how Vogel confronts his father. It's his relationship with his father that Fred Rogers takes such an interest in.

Matthew Rhys is very good. I found Vogel to be very frustrating at times but he played that well. I like that the film was told from his perspective. Hanks doesn't look or sound a thing like Fred Rogers but he's such a well known nice guy himself that it works. He 100% captures the spirit of what he was like. 

I really liked Heller's direction and I hope her name doesn't stray too far from awards conversation when it comes to Best Director. Even though myself and everyone else in the theater was sobbing (it feel so reassuring to hear other people sniffling) I was left with such a happy feeling.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "Thank you for giving me that perspective." - Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks)


And because this film is directed by a lovely woman, it makes a nice entry into Dell's Girl Week!


22 comments:

  1. Great to hear. A series of unforeseen annoyances kept me from seeing this over the weekend. The plan is to check it out tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

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  2. I'm SO GLAD you loved this just like I did! It caught me completely off guard at TIFF and after a second viewing last night it's still my favorite of the year. It's just so well-crafted and well-performed and just feels very, very special.

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    1. It really caught me off guard as well. I never would've thought I'd be crying my way through this movie.

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  3. Now I really want to see this. I never watched his show but saw him on The Tonight Show and other appearances. I can't wait to see this

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  4. I thought about seeing this with my mother although I'm not sure if I want to considering that it might be too much as she doesn't like movies that make people cry. I think it's too soon for her to see it though I still want to see it.

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    1. My mom wanted to see this too but she thought it was a Mister Rogers bio pic so I'm glad we didn't see it together. I like crying in peace.

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  5. I am one of those who grew up watching Mister Roger's Neighborhood every day after school. I'm soooo glad this is getting a positive response. I hope to see it soon. Thanks for including it in Girl Week!

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    1. I hope you get to see it too! And hopefully you don't sob the entire day through lol

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  6. Do you think you could live a full 24 hours being as good as Mr Rogers? It's intense. Thank you for that perspective? Gosh. Imagine saying that and meaning it in all situations.

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    1. I think I'm too cynical for that lol. I wish I could, I do think I'm genuinely a kind person but my kindness has limits.

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  7. I have little idea about who Mr Rogers was but I cry while looking at your banner so I'm for sure going to have a nervous breakdown during this movie :)

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    1. He's just so pure and that makes me cry because who is that kind? lol

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  8. I haven't seen this yet but I we have a big family holiday outing planned and this is the film that has been proposed to see.

    Hanks doesn't resemble Fred Rogers in the least but as soon as I read the casting news it made sense.

    I like Matthew Rhys as well, used to watch him every week on Brothers & Sisters and have seen him in other things since. He's quite versatile.

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    1. I really hope you and your family enjoy this! Hopefully you don't cry as much as I did either.

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    2. Probably not, I'm not a crier. My one niece on the other hand will surely be a puddle of tears.

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    3. Well I saw this today with the whole family group and the reactions were overwhelmingly positive. It dug a little deeper than I expected but really was such a lovely piece. Rhys gives a very fine performance but it's Tom Hanks's film. He is just SO right as Mr. Rogers despite the lack of resemblance.

      I didn't cry, I knew I wouldn't....it takes a lot for that to happen...and somewhat to my surprise neither did my niece.

      I tried not to read to much about it before going, usually when you do somewhere along the line someone spoils any surprise the film holds, so I hadn't realized the main conflict was between a man and a father who had deserted his family. Unfortunately that is what happened to my nieces and nephew (years ago now) and while there were some uncomfortable echoes-their birth father returned when he was terminally ill to try and make some kind of appeasement with them-they've worked through it pretty well at this point, part of which is developing a distance to the situation. The film's message is so optimistic though that helped tremendously in diffusing any kind of bruising emotional impact.

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    4. Oh wow what a coincidence. I'm glad the films optimism weighed out over the heavy stuff.

      Hanks was fantastic, it's easy to buy him as such a nice guy. It worked.

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  9. Okay okay. I'm going to go see this movie by myself today no matter what. Thanks for confirming everything I thought in your review! Tissues ready!

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    1. Bring those tissues! I wish I would've, I had to cry into my scarf lol

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