A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood (AU - PG/UK - PG/US - PG)

In A Word: Graceful

A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Mister Rogers (Tom Hanks) meets journalist Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) in A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood. PICTURE: Lacey Terrell © 2019 CTMG, Inc. All rights reserved. 

Rev Fred Rogers has had a profound impact on generations of children. From 1968 to 2001, his children’s show Mr Rogers’ Neighborhood combined music, puppetry and imagination to explore a wide range of social, emotional and moral issues.

His life and work was the inspiration of the 2018 documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, which has become the highest grossing biographical documentary ever produced. Now, an Esquire article on Mr Rogers has inspired A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, a moving drama featuring Tom Hanks as the the iconic Fred Rogers.

"It is...refreshing to see faith portrayed so positively and excellently on the screen. Several scenes make it clear that Mr Rogers’ faith in God is the driving force behind who he is. A beautifully depicted prayer is featured in the climatic moments of the film."

It is 1998, and award-winning journalist, Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys), is given the assignment to write a 400 word article on Fred Rogers. What should be a simple task is complicated by Lloyd’s cynicism and bitterness that prevents him from accepting Rogers’ nice guy persona on face value.

Determined to uncover Rogers as a fraud, he digs deeper into Fred’s life, only to discover that the love and respect Fred displays on screen is utterly consistent with his every personal interaction. These encounters challenge Lloyd to face the unresolved anger he holds towards his father which is tearing him and his family apart.

The focus of this film is clearly on Lloyd Vogel’s journey from rage to forgiveness, while the character of Fred Rogers is the catalyst for Lloyd’s transformation and only appears sporadically throughout the film. In those scenes, Tom Hanks does astonishing work capturing the essence of Mr Rogers, which is a quirky combination of intense focus, grace and total compassion. It is no wonder that Hanks has earned Academy Award and BAFTA nominations for Best Supporting Actor in this role.

It is also refreshing to see faith portrayed so positively and excellently on the screen. Several scenes make it clear that Mr Rogers’ faith in God is the driving force behind who he is. A beautifully depicted prayer is featured in the climatic moments of the film.

This is a story of faith, forgiveness and transformation that has wide appeal to audiences far beyond the church. The film has already achieved considerable box office success and garnered critical acclaim from media and awards events throughout the world.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood portrays a modern day hero, saving one life at a time. By telling the very personal impact that he has had on one man and one family, the film paints a broader picture of the great legacy that Mr Rogers has made on the world and all the generations who have watched and learned from him.