My pick for film of the year so far, here are some thoughts on Morgan Neville’s Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
The film takes us on a journey through the life of Fred Rogers, who is behind arguably one of the most popular children’s programs of our time, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. In the film, we discover more about Rogers’ childhood, how he got his start in television (which is a very interesting story, by the way), as well as his career and impact on our society - even today. We learn of the thought process that went into making the program, chiefly, Rogers’ disdain for children’s programming of the time that did not impact kids in a positive way.
I grew up, like many who are my age, watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood as a child. I’ll forever cherish the “field trip” segments of the show where Rogers traveled outside of his studio home to a location in the neighborhood to talk to folks, from the cast of STOMP to a local health center. Trolley, in all its red glory, bouncing us to and from the Neighborhood of Make-Believe and the plethora of stories told. I can still hear its whistle as I’m writing this.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor brought me back to the simpler times of my childhood. It brought so much warmth to my heart and I even discovered some things I didn’t really know about Rogers himself. Seeing the film made me even DVR a couple of episodes that re-aired on my local PBS station, recently. It was an enjoyable and impactful 90 minutes. You’ll regret it if you don’t see this beauty of a film.
I Give It An: A+