A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
A jaded journalist meets Mister Rogers.
Tom Hanks was born to play Fred Rogers, said Leah Greenblatt in Entertainment Weekly. In the new movie featuring Hanks’ take on the beloved children’s TV show host, the two-time Oscar winner slips on both the red cardigan and a handful of familiar Rogers traits: “the thoughtful pauses, the slow-blooming smiles, the speech cadences that seem to run at some kinder, gentler RPM.” This is not a Mister Rogers biopic, though. The protagonist is a star magazine writer, played by Matthew Rhys, who bristles when he’s assigned to write a profile of Rogers but is then moved by his subject’s supernatural kindness. “It ought to make you roll your eyes—except that Mister Rogers had a way of disarming doubters, and the film does, too,” said David Edelstein in NYMag.com. This Mister Rogers is often hilarious when he’s filming an episode, “doing things on camera that no TV host is ever supposed to do.” The film loses momentum, though, whenever it shifts focus to the rift between the writer and his father, played by Chris Cooper. The payoff comes in a wordless closing scene we spend with Rogers after a long day’s shoot, said Eric Kohn in IndieWire.com. “It’s a reminder that this sweet, unassuming movie has deeper sensibilities lurking beneath its surface, just like Rogers himself.” ■