A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is a 2019 American biographical drama directed by Mariel’s Heller, inspired by the 1998 article “Can You Say… Hero?” by Tom Junod, published in Esquire. The film stars Tom Hanks, Matthew Rhys, Susan Kelechi Watson and Chris Cooper. It tells the story of Lloyd Vogel (Rhys), a journalist for Esquire who is assigned to interview beloved television star Fred a Rogers (Hanks).
This film tells of Lloyd Vogel’s life with his wife Andrea, their son Gavin, his sister Lorraine and their ill father Jerry. It also tells of the friendship that is formed between Lloyd and Fred. You also learn a lot about what made Mr. Rogers so special. Lloyd starts out selfish and work obsessed, but after becoming friends with Fred Rogers, he learns that family and friends are important, to put others first, not be judgmental and to be positive. He becomes a better husband, father, son, worker and overall person thanks to Rogers. He also learns there are good people in the world. Fred becomes a family friend of the Vogels.
Mr. Rogers was a wonderful man, always helping others, not judging, educating children and just making the world a better place. He was probably the most positive person on television that not just children loved, but people of all ages. Tom Hanks is outstanding as Rogers, as this role was tailor made for him. He is nearly perfect in looks, voice and mannerisms. I think Fred is looking down proudly at Hanks and how his legacy is portrayed and how he lives on.
Matthew Rhys is excellent as Lloyd Vogel, who’s loosely based on journalist Tom Junod, whose meeting with Rogers was adapted into the film. Susan Kelechi Watson is very good as Andrea Vogel, Lloyd’s wife and fan of Rogers. She at first puts her career on hold when their son is born, but after the Rogers article is published, Lloyd decides to cut back on his job to stay home more with Gavin.
Chris Cooper is great as Jerry Vogel, Lloyd’s estranged father and a womanizer who cheated on his Lila and abandoned Lloyd and Lorraine when they were kids. Cooper plays the character so well, a fantastic role for him. He is a jerk at first, but he asks his children and their spouses for forgiveness and after suffering a heart attack, Lloyd realizes, he should forgive his father and be there for him.
Though this film was inspired by a true story, it still shows how special Mr. Rogers was, that you should forgive others and how to deal with tragedy and emotions. Some parts of this movie may be fictional or changed up a bit, but that doesn’t make it bad at all. In fact, this is an overall terrific film, with powerful messages. You will be deeply inspired and affected by this movie. So emotional that you won’t be able to hold back your tears. Though some parts are really slow, it I should still superb and any fan of Hanks, Rogers, or both will enjoy this one tremendously. 13+ 4.5/5