A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood starring Tom Hanks as Mr. Fred Rogers doesn’t come out until November 22nd. But, film critics are already calling this film much more than a biopic after its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2019. Director Marielle Heller makes sure to hit all the key notes in remembering the iconic Mr. Rogers and his opening song.
Many critics are already claiming that the film is not cheesy nor is it predictable. We already had a lovely documentary released about Mr. Rogers last year, so we didn’t need another one of those. Director Heller really pulls off making this biopic into something much more than that.
More than your average biopic
One of the main reason why this biopic stands out from the rest of them is that it’s not entirely focused on Mr. Rogers at all. Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster create the screenplay based on an Esquire magazine profile by Tom Junod about the children’s show host, who forms a close bond with Rogers.
The journalist, Lloyd Vogel, isn’t the mushy kind either. His profile assignment is based on one of the biggest American icons of the time period. But, Lloyd scoffs at the idea of taking on such a sappy assignment. That feeling, of course, changes as the film progresses.
It doesn’t just focus on Mr. Rogers
While some die-hard Mr. Rogers fans may be disappointed that the whole film isn’t primarily focused on Mr. Rogers himself, film critics believe this to be a great decision. The audience member learns more through Lloyd about Mr. Rogers than from Mr. Rogers himself in the film. Lloyd is trying so hard to uncover the “real man” underneath all the child-show mushiness. He soon comes to find out that that’s really who Mr. Rogers is.
Lloyd learns that Mr. Rogers’ mission is to help people, whether they are children, adults, or somewhere in the middle or beyond. Mr. Rogers also wants to help people manage difficult feelings, which in turn, ends up helping Lloyd as well.
With this interesting baseline for the biopic, film critics firmly believe that Hanks may be able to snag an Oscar nomination. I agree that as a former viewer of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, this sounds like it could be a very successful biopic. I will certainly be seeing it for myself!
Check out the teaser trailer for the biopic below! Will you be seeing it?
Watch an older episode of ‘Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, where Mr. Rogers talks to the original Wicked Witch of the West, Margaret Hamilton!