Jenn Rohm Reviews "A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood"
There is a school of thought that if you want to get to know a person get to know their friends. This is also a principle that exists in journalism, and with Marielle Heller’s “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” both the personal and professional sides of the adage are looked at.
Based at its core on an article published in Esquire magazine, Lloyd Vogel’s (Matthew Rhys) personal life and career are imploding, but when his editor gives him an assignment to write a piece on America’s beloved Mr. Rogers for their “heroes” issue, he reluctantly and skeptically travels to Pittsburgh to get to know the man behind the scenes (and puppets) with the intention (against his editor’s wishes) of “exposing” him. However, he ends up using their time together getting to know the real man (who isn’t that much different off camera) while his life around him goes under changes as well.
Tom Hanks does an amazing job as a very treasured part of American history (his house is even a museum that can be toured) back to the screen, down to the most minute details. Seeing the miniature village and arriving inside a familiar house in a friendly neighborhood and watching Mr. Rogers change from a blazer to cardigan and dress shoes to navy canvas shoes, all the feels from childhood came back. This touch endeared me to this film that much more, and I stand up and applaud everyone involved with this project. From Heller and screenwriters Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster to every cast and crew member, they have honored the legacy of kindness, empathy, and human decency that the name Mr. Rogers brings every time it is spoken. Even things like Daniel Tiger’s look of being loved and worn to Mr. Rogers’ cardigans that zip and the VHS tape used to watch on picture, picture, it’s all here. Be advised, though: while the message is universal for all ages this is not a movie for children, but it would still be a good idea to take a moment out of the holiday chaos and enjoy a moment of remembering the man, the myth, the legend.