A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Movie Review
Have you ever met someone that left a mark on your very soul? Someone so pure that you felt like God had put them on this earth to help you, to help people in general? After watching A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, I found myself wishing that I had had the opportunity to meet Mr. Rogers. He touched so many lives, both young and old, and made a real difference in the world during his years alive.
The film follows Lloyd Vogel (Tom Junod in real-life), a writer for Esquire magazine. Lloyd is given an assignment to write a 400-word piece on none other than Mister Rogers himself. Lloyd is skeptical at first, wanting to write a real story and not a "puff piece". But, the more he talked with Rogers, the more he started to question his own life as he slowly learned what it meant to forgive.
Considering this was marketed as a sort-of biopic, I expected to learn a bit more about Fred Rogers. I also expected there to be more truth than anything. The film focuses more on Lloyd and how Fred affected his life. This would be a fine maneuver, had the parts about Lloyd been anywhere close to the truth. According to historyvshollywood.com, the film fictionalized Lloyd so extremely that Tom Junod, the reporter who Lloyd is based on, asked the filmmakers to keep his name and his family's names out of the film. The parts about Fred though are true and accurate. I don't understand why the filmmakers only put in half an effort.
Tom Hanks was absolutely born to play Fred Rogers. His performance was excellent and powerful. He pulled on the heartstrings and made sure Fred's message was channeled into the film. It's a shame that we didn't get more of Fred than what we did.
If you look at the film for what it is, then yes it's a fantastic display of heart and the message is beautifully clear. You'll come to respect Fred even more. But if you look at it from a historical point of view, you'll wonder why the filmmakers didn't try harder.
In conclusion, I'm actually torn about what rating to give the film. On one hand, you have extreme accuracy about Fred. One the other, you have extreme inaccuracy about Tom. The film is well-made and well-performed, but you're still left wanting to know more. I give the film a 3 out of 4.
© 2019 Nathan Jasper