A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) is not a kid’s movie, yet it transported me to my childhood and brought back the pleasant memories and that was enough for me to thoroughly enjoy this film and highly recommend it.
The story happens during simpler times when TV entertainment for kids meant responsibly made shows that were presented by friendly hosts who presented a world filled with hope for an amazing future waiting for the audience.
The film is based on an interview with Mr Rogers by Tom Junod for the Esquire in November 1998. Tom Hanks and Matthew Rhys have brought to life the two people respectively who did the interview. Mr Rogers is hosting a kids’ TV show, he says his reason for success is that during the shooting of each episode he imagines ‘a’ kid sitting in front of him and he is talking to him-this reminded me of the same style followed by Mr M Nannan, a Tamil Professor who for years conducted Tamil Grammar classes on Doordarshan (The National Broadcaster of India). Just watching Tom Hanks delivering the role of Mr Rogers with confidence and compassion was more than my money’s worth.
The story starts Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) an award-winning investigative reporter with the Esquire being assigned a gentler assignment of interviewing a kids TV celebrity, Mr Rogers (Tom Hanks). Having become a father recently, Lloyd is carrying a heavy burden from his childhood-hatred and anger towards his estranged father which is affecting his relationship with people around him. What should’ve been a straight-forward meeting Mr Rogers for Lloyd, changes his life for the good. Instead of Lloyd interviewing Mr Rogers, it happens in the reverse and Lloyd is unable to handle the interest and kindness that was being showered by Mr Rogers. For us, this brings out a contrast in the world we see today, which is filled with cynicism and hatred.