Review by SarahCronin
As a child I hadn’t seen many episodes of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” as the show’s last episode aired less than a month before I was born in August 2001. The only thing I remember about the show is the cute little train car, Mr. Rogers’ ability to tie his shoes without looking and, most of all, the calmness I felt while watching it. Compared to other bright and flashy children’s TV shows, “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” had a slower, more meaningful feel to it. The care and genuinity of the show became clear in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” a film based on Esquire writer Tom Junod’s article about Rogers, “Can You Say…Hero?”
The movie, rated PG, was set up similarly to an actual episode of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” with Junod’s character, Lloyd, being the focus of the episode. Lloyd, a skeptic of Rogers’ loving and positive attitude, faces troubles that shake his own outlook on life to the core. As he develops a relationship with Fred Rogers, the lessons Mr. Rogers has taught millions of children start to make a bit more sense.
Its colorful transitions were miniature versions of a city, but were tailored to Lloyd’s location. The beautiful detail and mimicking of the show gave the whole film a nostalgic feel.
Tom Hanks portrayed Fred Rogers phenomenally, adopting his slight Pittsburgh accent and slow, calm way of speaking. At times he looked and acted almost exactly like the elderly TV star, and revealed at the Toronto International Film Festival that this could be attributed to watching “hundreds of hours” of on and off-set footage of Rogers.
Hanks was nominated for his performance at the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice, BAFTA Awards and Screen Actors Guild Awards.
I’d definitely recommend this as a good movie to watch with your family, specifically with your parents, as they probably have a deeper connection with the show. Along with that, it packs a powerful message about caring for the people around you; your friends, family and even your neighbors.
Lloyd learns about the power of caring for the people around you, something everyone, especially Marian girls can do. This is a movie that makes you feel good inside at the same time as it makes you want to be good.