Title: A Beautiful Day of the Neighborhood
MPAA Rating: PG
Director: Marielle Heller
Starring: Tom Hanks, Matthew Rhys, Susan Kelechi Watson
Runtime: 1 hr 49 mins
What It Is: When jaded Esquire reporter Lloyd Vogel (Rhys) is tasked with doing a profile for the magazine his editor informs him it’ll be on PBS kid show host Fred Rogers (Hanks). Upon their first meeting, the normally skeptical Vogel cannot believe that Mr. Rogers is who he says he is. As he turns his cynism toward the Pittsburgh legend he’ll begin to uncover more about himself, perhaps then he will about Mr. Rogers.
What We Think: I like Matthew Rhys in this. I love the decisions Marielle Heller makes. I do not care much for or about the script. The focus on Vogel is sort of a bore. In lesser hands, this thing would’ve fallen apart. With talented actors giving great performances and a VERY gifted director doing her thing you sort of like it for those reasons. Oh…Tom Hanks? He’s incredible here. Where this easily could’ve devolved into an impression or worse parody Hanks is such a brilliant actor he gets Rogers’ pathos. He plays him as a gentle man. One struggling with his own issues but always willing to do something very few do…listen. Not hear but really and truly listen.
Our Grade: B+, Listen after last years Won’t You Be My Neighbor? which was a year best directed by the woman who made The Diary of a Teenage Girl another best of its year. Well, you’d think this would be a phone in as a top ten spot. I’m not sure that’s the case and as I mentioned this falls solely on the fault of the script. I, of course, recommend this one. You gotta see this one. It looks like you’ll have to wait until it hits VOD in most places though.