Tom Hanks channels Mister Rogers in this story of forgiveness and honesty. Fred Rogers applies kindness and empathy on a cynical magazine writer. The young writer, who has come to profile Fred Rogers, finds a man who can help him heal his angry heart. The world of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, where Fred Rogers crafts meaningful life lessons for kids, also have impacts on troubled adults, too.
The director of A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Marielle Heller (The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Can You Ever Forgive Me?), captures the essence of Fred Rogers while keeping the story from tumbling into mawkishness. The screenplay by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster is based on an article by Tom Junod. Junod’s 1998 profile of Fred Rogers ran in Esquire magazine. In A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, the writer–who’s renamed Lloyd Vogel (played by Matthew Rhys)–not only becomes Fred’s friend, but finds himself confronted by the problem at the core of his life. Bring some Kleenex. GRADE: A