Heller’s “A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood” encapsulates everything which made Fred Rogers such an inspiration to children over the years, and the film carries its message of goodness and love so sincerely that even in this increasingly cynical world.
Mr. Rogers. A figure who defined the childhoods of many individuals. He was the subject of 2018’s documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” Now, with “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” (2019), Mr. Rogers is once again teaching us the importance of having faith in each other. The film does not follow Mr. Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks) solely. It explores the world of make believe and Mr. Rogers through the eyes of journalist Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys). Lloyd works for Esquire and is assigned to cover Mr. Rogers for the magazine’s issue on heroes. Lloyd is skeptical of the wonderous man with his puppets. As an audience, we learn to understand what makes Lloyd so skeptical. He is a new father and the fears he already has about being a new father are compounded by the re-emergence of his estranged father (Chris Cooper).
Last year, audiences were asked a simple question from a documentary about an iconic symbol of goodness – Won't you be my neighbor? Ah, yes, I’m talking about the heartfelt documentary about Fred Rogers from director Morgan Neville that won the hearts of critics and audiences, but oddly didn’t enough love to earn, or even be nominated for, many major awards. It was actually one of the most talked about and head scratching snubs of last year, however, it seems like Mr. Rogers will find another chance for award recognition this year as director Marielle Heller crafts a heart-warming and heartfelt film that displays the raw power of good that comes from the iconic figure with “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”.