A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is a beautiful story that left me in utter tears


Never would I have expected to walk out of a movie theater looking like an emotional mess after watching a film about someone who, prior to the movie, I didn’t really know a whole lot about, as I was too young to even know who he was.

Yet, I did. I stand here and declare that I walked out of the movie theater attempting to hide my tears after witnessing the beauty that was the movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.

The movie was based on the latest pop culture icon Fred Rogers—played by Tom Hanks in the movie—who had his own TV show called Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. It talked about different topics ranging from how to deal with mean people—as shown directly from the movie—as well as topics that seemed quite dark and deep for a children’s show including divorce and war. 

What was so quintessential of what he strove to do was that he not only wanted to help young children, but he also strove to help adults going through tough situations, which was the exact direction that the movie decided to take.

It told the story of Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) who is a writer for a magazine called Esquire. 

He is told by his editor that he is to write an article that celebrated heroes; and, due to Lloyd’s harsh reputation, Mister Rogers was the only person who agreed to do an interview with him.

From there, the movie tells the story of how Lloyd, through meeting Mister Rogers, is changed. 

That is what I found to be the most genius about this movie.

Mister Rogers was someone who cared so much about others to the point that he never answered a single question of Lloyd’s during the interview, but rather he asked Lloyd what he thought on the topic. This was true to real life. 

Lloyd Vogel represents an actual person named Tom Junod, who was the real reporter who worked for Esquire magazine, who interviewed Mister Rogers.

In an interview with New York State Writers Institute, he says that “I went and saw him three times for pretty long spans of time in preparation of doing that story, and he never answered a single question that I asked him.”

Yet, that was the beauty of Mister Rogers as a person, and it is clearly reflected in the movie. He cared so much about others and what others believed so much to the point that he never really cooperated with Lloyd through the interview. Whenever Lloyd asked him a question, he would instead return the question back to Lloyd, wondering what he thought of the topic.

I am someone who loves things that represent something much larger than what meets the eye.

In having the movie presented through the eyes of not Mister Rogers, but rather someone who has been strongly impacted by him was quite special, as that showed how remarkable of a person he was.

What I also found to be highly important, yet seemingly minuscule, was the intricate attention to detail that not only the movie itself demonstrated, but also how the actors went about performing their role.

If you look at an episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, in each transition that the show took there would be a clay demonstration of what is going on. There was an entire tiny town that was created from what looked to be clay. It showed buildings, homes, cars, and trees; and, in every transition of the show if someone went to a new place, the camera would fade to the clay town and show a clay figure of what was going on.

For example, if Mister Rogers was to leave his home and go to some new location, the camera would pan to a close up of his house and move to the new location that he was traveling to.

The movie replicated this exactly. 

If Lloyd and his family went somewhere or the movie changed settings, the camera would pan to the small town and go from a figure of where they were to a figure of where the new location is.

Though such a small detail, I found it to be quite amazing that they included that, as I can imagine for those who watched Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood felt as though they were taken back to when they used to sit and watch the show.

Before I watched the film, I did quite a lot of research about who Mister Rogers was. After I found out that he was such a well respected and amiable figure, I was quite nervous if the actor playing Mister Rogers would fully be able to represent the person that he was. 

Then, I saw it was Tom Hanks.

Tom Hanks is an actor that is able to take a character and fully engulf himself into their persona. 

Therefore, I had very high expectations, and he did not disappoint.

He was able to show through the power of emotion how Mister Rogers acted around others and how he ultimately changed them.

He, to me, stood out the most in terms of the actors in the play.

His performance was utterly sensational; this movie left me in tears.

Fred Rogers was a beautiful person, and the way that this film was constructed and brought about reflected that immensely.