A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood – Director, Marielle Heller

As many of you know I am big fan of Fred Rogers and I loved the documentary that came out last year. I am also a fan of Tom Hanks, but I was not sure a dramatic film about Fred Rogers would work or that anyone could capture his unique character. My fears were unfounded. The film is excellent, and Hanks does a remarkable job of capturing him on and off camera. The story is not focussed on Rogers himself but rather on a journalist who is struggling with many personal problems and is assigned to write a short 400-word piece on Rogers for Esquire magazine as part of a series on American heroes. He resists because he sees himself as a serious investigative journalist and has zero respect for some guy who entertains kids. As the film progresses, we learn more about the journalist’s family and his deep anger and hatred for his father. He reluctantly heads off to interview Rogers and slowly is drawn into his character and authenticity. I will not go into the details of the relationship that grows over time but needless to say it is worth your time and is a very honest and challenging film. One spoiler, the journalist ends up not writing a 400 word profile but rather a 10,000 word article that headlined Esquire in 2017. I highly recommend you see this and try to see the documentary Won’t You Be my Neighbor. Director Heller recommended we all see both films even in conjunction if possible. I totally agree and also read the Esquire article you will find here:

https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/tv/a27134/can-you-say-hero-esq1198/

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