A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: A Review

Written by on January 30, 2020

A Beautiful Day In The Neighbourhood is an uplifting film that greatly benefits those who are familiar with Fred Rogers and his children’s show, whilst remaining pleasantly entertaining for those who have not.

Your enjoyment of A Beautiful Day In The Neigbourhood (ABDITN) will largely depend upon a few things. Namely, your enjoyment will hinge on your familiarity with Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks), the show Mr Rogers’ Neighborhood and your ability to suspend your disbelief in some of the more overly idealic scenes.

Despite the aforementioned, ABDITN does not actually focus on Fred Rogers but rather Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys), a cynical journalist who is tasked with interviewing Mr Rogers in order to find out the man behind the mask. Lloyd is a very unhappy man and yet throughout his discussions with Mr Rogers; begins to find new meaning in life as well as understanding the joy in both kindness and forgiveness.

Tom Hanks is Mr Rogers

Both Rhys & Hanks give fantastic performances in their leading roles, particularly Tom Hanks who seems to capture the gentle and reassuring nature of the character. while Rhys is perhaps a little too good at coming across as cynical and unlikable to the early stages of the film. A special shout out should go to Chris Copper as Jerry Vogel, Lloyd’s father, a man who desperatly tries to rebuild his connection with his estranged son over the course of the film; despite Lloyds constant rejctions.

The film is an enjoyable ride throughout and Tom Hanks performance is both curious and captivating. Despite this, if you may feel as if you are barley scratching the surface if you are unfamiliar with Mr Rogers or his original tv show which ran for 33 years. There were a number of scenes throughout the film which heavily leant into nostalgia territory, with scene transitions and entire conversations that harkens back to the original show.

A life changing interview

The film will also test your suspense of disbelief at times. In this film Mr Rogers comes across as an almost saintly character where just about everyone he comes across is in awe or reverence of him, with many people hanging off his every word. Without being familiar with his impact or being American it comes across as idealistic and a little over the top at times. albiet in a heart warming way.

ABDITN is a nostalgic viewing experience that will be charming for those who grew up with the show. For those who are not familiar the film is still a pleasant if unremarkable experience, but Tom Hanks charisma and the positive themes of the film are enough to enough to justify the price of admission.


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