Movie Review: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019)

Synopsis: Still sporting a black eye from a fight at his sister's wedding, a cynical journalist travels to Pittsburgh to interview children's television star Fred Rogers for a puff piece about heroes. Believing Mr. Rogers isn't as clean-cut as he would have people believe, he attempts to dig deeper but ultimately winds up being drawn in by the TV star's genuine warmth.

Who's in it? The movie stars Tom Hanks, Matthew Rhys, Chris Cooper, Maryann Plunkett and Susan Kelechi Watson.

Review: I've had this movie on DVD from Netflix for a few weeks now and just never seemed to find the motivation to watch it. However, my wife and I had some free time yesterday evening and, mostly so I could send it back, we decided to finally watch it.

I wasn't really sure if I would enjoy this movie, to be honest. In fact, that is a large part of the reason why we took so long to watch it. After seeing it, I can honestly say I didn't hate it. However, it also wasn't quite what I was expecting it to be.

From the description, my wife and I thought the movie would wind up being a Fred Rogers biopic. That, however, turned out not to be the case. Instead, this movie really was more about the journalist, Lloyd Vogel (Rhys), and his relationship with his estranged father (Cooper). Rogers (Hanks) was actually more of a secondary character who popped up from time to time.

To be fair, despite this, the drama surrounding Vogel's life and the transformation he goes through were still interesting. It's just, in the scenes without Mr. Rogers, the movie did get to be kind of depressing and, at times, even a little dull.

One thing I did think was kind of cool was the way this movie portrayed Vogel's story as an episode of the show, complete with Mr. Rogers telling his story the way you would have expected him to explain it to a child and illustrating the location changes in a way that was similar to the show's introduction. Out of everything about this movie, I do think that will wind up being the most memorable part.

Final Opinion: I was a little disappointed we didn't get to see more of Fred Rogers. But, despite that, I do think it is an entertaining movie and would still recommend it.

My Grade: B


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