Largely unknown in the United Kingdom, Fred Rodger’s was a popular
children’s TV host who, between 1968 and 2001, starred in a show called
Mister Rodgers Neighbourhood.
Director Marielle Heller’s (Can You Ever Forgive Me ?) brings Rodgers
story to life in the wonderful “A Beautiful day In The Neighbourhood”. Told
not from the viewpoint of Rodgers (Tom Hanks) himself but through the eyes
of Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys), a hardened and bitter journalist who, in
1998, was tasked by Esquire magazine to write an article on Rodgers.
Believing that Rodgers wasn’t the saint like person that he appeared to be
on screen, Vogel, an abrasive man who is estranged from his unlikable
father (Chris Cooper), sets out to look for the flaws behind the perfect
person that Rodgers appears to be.
When the pair meet the interviewer turns interviewee as Rodgers, with his
profound wisdom and love of everyone and everything, starts to become a
type of therapist to the embittered Vogel.
A Beautiful Day In The Neighbourhood is as much a story about Lloyd Vogel
as it is Fred Rodgers. Both Rhys and Hanks are wonderful in their
respective roles. It does all get a bit sugary sweet towards the end and a
packet of hankies will probably not go a miss but on the whole, even if
you’ve never heard of Fred Rodgers, A Beautiful day In the Neighbourhood is an emotional and heartfelt story that comes highly recommended.