Posted December 4, 2019
by David Sapp, 8th Grade Cinemania Student Critic
Marielle Heller’s 2019 film A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is a drama about how a troubled journalist’s perspective on life is altered by renowned children’s show host Mr. Rogers. This film was much more dramatic and gripping than I initially assumed. It takes a story about a cynical journalist and his rocky relationship with his father and wife, which is already an interesting plot in itself, but the addition of Mr. Rogers to the story makes the film all the more unique. It does a really great job of keeping the authenticity of Rogers and the way he helped kids deal with their feelings.
No one in this film is completely free of internal strife, not even the happy-go-lucky Mr. Rogers. He also has subtle conflicts that echo throughout the film. Little hints and nods to this, like the way Rogers addresses his anger through things like banging on a piano, creates a sense of mystery about what’s going on in his head. The final shot of the film was incredible and was packed with complexity.
The filmmaker balances new age styles and nostalgia to the ones who watched the show when it aired, using classic Mr. Rogers miniatures as transitions. It doesn’t pander to Mr. Rogers but rather pays homage to him. It was a sweet film that I really enjoyed.
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