By: Movie Snurb (A Toast) –
Inspired by true events, in the late 1990’s an investigative journalist for Esquire magazine, Lloyd Vogel, is sent to do a piece on American Heroes. He is sent to interview Fred Rogers, here played by Tom Hanks. His assignment was only supposed to be 400 words and an hour interview, but it turns into a deep friendship that helps Lloyd deal with the issues with his father that he has chosen to never deal with. It’s a small film, but Marielle Heller made a tiny film that packs a powerful punch.
It has been a while since we’ve gotten a truly great performance from Tom Hanks. He’s a beloved Hollywood actor and one of those rare celebrities that actually proves to be a great person. So, it seemed to be a no-brainer that when a movie with Mr. Rogers came along, Tom Hanks was going to be the only choice to play him. You know it’s Tom Hanks playing Mr. Rogers, but it feels like the spirit of Mr. Rogers comes back to life with his performance. It’s a subtle performance; the greatness lies in his mannerisms and lexicon. Not only that, but his performance is the big standout because he is the emotional center of the film.
This is one of the more emotional films I have seen since maybe Room in 2015. It is very similar to Moonlight in the way that the emotion sneaks into you and then sits with you for hours after the film. It’s hard to explain the emotional weight of the film as well. It’s not where you would think, between Lloyd and his father Jerry having it out about their issues. It’s with Mr. Rogers interacting with Lloyd. He shows Lloyd that holding onto that anger isn’t healthy. Maybe your relationship will never be perfect, but holding that anger will do no one any good.
If this film can do anything in the future, I hope it can help continue the legacy of Mr. Rogers. Mr. Rogers taught valuable lessons to children about dealing with emotions and finding proper outlets for their emotions. How Mr. Rogers lived wasn’t easy, and it takes a lot of work to constantly see the good in people and understand everyone is going through stuff. Anger is just a reaction to a situation or behavior that we choose to have. It’s hard work and I am not perfect at it, but I’ve worked on my anger. I don’t think I can ever be like Mr. Rogers, but it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try just like anyone else.
Marielle Heller took a small story and made a small film with a huge emotional impact. Tom Hanks gives a brilliant performance that could see him on the red carpet at the Oscars in February. I couldn’t recommend this A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood more and I would say to take your children to see this film.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) Drinking Game
Do a Shot: every time the puppets talk
Do a Shot: every time Lloyd gets upset and can’t deal with his emotions.
Take a Drink: for every phone call.
Take a Drink: every time a tear rolls down your face.