Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Review: A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Release date: November 22, 2019
Running time: 108 minutes
Starring: Tom Hanks, Christine Lahti, Matthew Rhys 

In Tom Hanks's latest portrayal of a childhood icon, he takes on the role of Mister Rogers.  However, this movie is not at all what I expected it would be, but that was a very good thing.  I expected this movie to be a dramatization of Mister Rogers's life, but that wouldn't have been a very good use of the man with a highly rated documentary on Mister Rogers's life released just last year.  Rather, A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood is a fictionalized, inspired by story about a troubled, but ultimately good man meeting Mister Rogers.  The timing is set more modern, in the late 90s, and the problems that Lloyd (Matthew Rhys) deal with are modern, relateable problems including family drama and a troubled past.  And with this background, Lloyd meets Mister Rogers (Tom Hanks) who uses his endless understanding and patience on his new friend.

Tom Hanks completely transforms himself into the iconic man, taking on his clothing, his mannerisms, his love of people, and his amazing sense of empathy.  Some of the "Mister Rogers" scenes take place on set during a filming of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, others take place in New York, but all the time Hanks is a perfect portrayal of Rogers.  His new friend, Lloyd, also does a wonderful job as a good, driven man with a lot of personal issues.  Lloyd is a complicated character with a lot of baggage, and that is portrayed wonderfully by Rhys.  

The movie also does a great job with the style of the film.  Oftentimes it will cut to a fictitious Mister Rogers show, and the movie will go into a 4:3, old style broadcast format.  This gives a sense of authenticity to these scenes and the movie as a whole.  They also recreated neighborhoods and animated them similarly to how they Mister Rogers' neighborhood was animated.  

Although I liked the story and thought that this was a good choice for this movie, given the close proximity to the fantastic documentary, the fictionalized story might turn off many movie goers.  And many also might feel like this is a bait and switch due to the movie being mostly about a random person and his problems.  But what this does allow is a film that is able to be set in a more modern time, with modern problems, yet show how Mister Rogers's philosophy on life and people is just as applicable now as it has ever been.  With so many problems in this world, Fred Rogers's wonderful personality and ideas are just as relevant now as they were back then.  

A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood shows that the ideas of kindness, friendship, and understanding are just as relevant now as they have ever been.  Tom Hanks's perfect portrayal of Mister Rogers is a treat to watch and will help the iconic man touch a new generation of people.   

Watch it

No comments:

Post a Comment