TIFF Review: ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’ Will Hug the Skepticism out of You with Kindness
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood directed by Marielle Heller tells the story of a writer named Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) getting an assignment to write a profile on Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks) of the children’s show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Llyod is an investigative journalist who is very suspicious of Rogers when he meets him.
The movie is based on the true story of journalist, Tom Junod following the icon to write a story. This movie takes that story and cleverly sets it in a world that will be familiar to those who watched the show growing up.
Llyod is a person that many can relate to given he’s an adult who has had some tough experiences
Llyod is a person that many can relate to given he’s an adult who has had some tough experiences while growing up. His relationship with his father, Jerry (Chris Cooper) is practically nonexistent. His wife, Andrea (Susan Kelechi Watson) recently gave birth to their son and their relationship is feeling the weight of that life change.
Rhys does a wonderful job playing the cynical writer having to deal with these situations. His hard exterior crossing paths with Hanks’ calming presence that Rogers was known for is a great thing to watch.
Sometimes it leads to funny interactions. Other times it leads to heart-wrenching discussions that makes you feel like you’re the third party to a therapy session.
Another person who is worth mentioning is Cooper. His role is very important to get right in order for the movie’s message to hit home and he delivers.
The movie’s style is just as odd as the television show that made Rogers a household name
The movie’s style is just as odd as the television show that made Rogers a household name. Shots of the neighborhood are sometimes used for transitions. Sometimes there are exercises characters do together daring the audience to participate as well. The movie therefore feels like an episode of the show.
As someone who didn’t watch it growing up I still loved the experience of the movie. I imagine those who did watch it will be full of nostalgia seeing the sets and familiar puppets come into play.
The movie, like the show, also isn’t afraid to tackle some of the hardest experiences in life. Llyod’s emotional journey of trying to handle his emotions is one that anyone can relate to and learn at any point in their life.
This movie will hug the skeptic out of you because of the relationship between Fred and Llyod. It made me want to reach out to other people after watching the movie. I believe that does say something about A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’s power. However, I think it ultimately is more about who Mr. Rogers was to many.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is scheduled to be released in theaters on Nov. 22.