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Film Review: “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” (2019) ★★★★


Sometimes we do need someone in our life who could play the role of an anger translator. Someone who, just after one look, can make you better than any tranquilizer. It takes one person or one event that can define or who we need to become. One person was truly angry; so angry that he was willing to beat his own father. But after meeting one man, he started seeing life from a different perspective he previously had no idea of its existence. The person who had that power was Mr. Fred Rogers.

A journalist from Esquire is assigned to write about real-life heroes, people who continuously inspired others. His task was to interview Fred Rogers, a TV host for a children’s program. The requirement from his editor was four hundred words only. First, Lloyd (Matthew Rhys), who considers himself as an investigative journalist, does not understand why he must write about a TV personality who he had no interest in. But once he met Mr. Rogers (Tom Hanks) in person, he realized he will be needing thousands of words to describe how complex, simple, and genuinely nice person Mr. Rogers was.

“Sometimes we must change the broken world with words”, Lloyd says in his award acceptance speech. The world of his very own that was indeed broken. Days later, he attends the wedding of his sister to which his drank father was invited as well. After a short encounter, they end up fighting. With an almost broken nose, the journalist goes to Fred Rogers’ studio to meet him in person. In fact, that’s how this beautifully crafted film begins when Mr. Rogers introduces us to his new journalist friend, his anger, and how Lloyd does not know the way to handle it.

Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers is all that you will need to witness the most authentic portrayal of one of the kindest human beings. His gentle and well-balanced voice, gesture, posture, and even his way of talking will remind you of the real-life person we still admire. Matthew Rhys as a famous journalist is subtle and convincing in capturing a broken man who finds his way to healing with the help of his assignment he was too skeptical about. Directed by Marielle Heller and based on Tom Junod’s Esquire article, the film is as beautiful as it could get. Every scene, every frame will make you feel good throughout. The scenes with Hanks are like a delightful journey on a train of happiness you will never want to get off.

In the end, as I once said, we need more films like “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” to remind us that the world we live in is not that bad. As Mr. Rogers said, “What we do is what ultimately defines what we are.” This is why it’s a much-needed piece that must be seen by the entire family, by the whole world. Because it has that healing effect you will get towards the end when you will find yourself as a newborn individual who will start taking things easier, love more, greet people, and always appreciate when a day is beautiful in your neighborhood.

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