I could have very well titled this ‘Movie review: A beautiful day in the neighborhood’. I might have, even. Had it not impacted me deep inside somewhere, this would just be me reviewing yet another movie I watched and giving my free opinion about it.
But I feel compelled to make a plea – to watch the movie, to know the real man behind the movie, and to understand the message of goodness that he stood and lived for, by example. ‘Tom Hanks’ and a movie shot in Pittsburgh, were the two enticing things the husband mentioned when he streamed this movie, as we are constantly looking for entertainment during the current lockdown. For those unfamiliar, Pittsburgh has an ever special place in my heart, where the hubby and I spent 4 amazing years right after we got married. Tom Hanks is an actor who can play any character on earth like he was meant to do it. I was sold!
And so we sat down with our kids, me not knowing a thing about Mister Rogers or the movie, having no expectations from it other than to be entertained. Slowly it unraveled itself, a movie about a man talking to children and explaining feelings to them. How to deal with feelings. Introduced is a character Lloyd Vogel (slightly altered from real life, for this movie), a cynical man struggling with bottled up feelings that he hasn’t dealt with. And just like that you are transported into looking inward at yourself, and outward at the world around – where the subtle message is that we must be taught to deal with our feelings at a young age, and look what can happen if you don’t?
You are alternately captivated by a man who believed in so much kindness, and by the great Tom Hanks, who emotes with his eyes and provokes a million thoughts by saying so little. You wonder if it is foolish to believe in simple, good honesty and why children grow into complex adults. You are shown that by dealing with feelings, bringing them out and discussing them, you are unburdened. Perhaps it is sometimes as simple as that – see the good and good happens to you? It may not explain a lot of crazy things that happen in today’s world, but Mister Rogers cared so deeply about how to explain a lot of things to children.
After watching the movie, we were compelled to research about Fred Rogers, the real Mister Rogers. There are some lengthy and informative, insightful articles about him which you can find if you browse the internet. I read one on the atlantic.com, written by the man who inspired the character of Lloyd Vogel, Tom Junod. Here’s the link: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/12/what-would-mister-rogers-do/600772/
Watch the movie, will you? Understand the message, won’t you? Wouldn’t we ALL just be so much better off in believing again in a world of goodness? The movie and the man behind it tugged something deep inside my heart. I hope it will yours too…