‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’ gives Fred Rogers his due
One of last year’s most beautifully directed movies, fittingly enough, was “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” Marielle Heller’s film about a man in deep emotional pain and his life-changing encounter with a new friend. That friend, of course, was Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks, an Oscar nominee for his lovably sly performance), but the movie — freely adapted by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster from Tom Junod’s magazine profile of Rogers — honored and examined Rogers’ estimable legacy in ways that a more conventional Hollywood biopic couldn’t have managed.
What Heller pulled off was something stranger and trickier: a genuine communion with the spirit of grace, patience and kindness that made Rogers such a counterintuitive force for good on American airwaves. “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” is now available for rental or purchase, and a good thing too; no less than Mister Rogers himself, it deserves to light up your living room.
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