I love a feel-good movie. I really do. Especially when I’m feeling somewhat blue going into one, like I was last week when I went to see “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”, a film about the real-life relationship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod.
I don’t remember much about Fred Rogers or his show Mister Rogers, seeing that the last time I remembering watching him or it was back in the mid to late 70’s. What I do recollect about it was how it was one of the few programs that my parents allowed me to watch as a young kid and one that I remember for always being uplifting, something that I feel is quite rare on television these days.
Nevertheless, I didn’t know this story about Junod’s and Rogers’ relationship until I saw the film and what a wonderful story it was. Junod (played by Matthew Rhys), a writer for Esquire magazine is tasked to write a piece about Fred Rogers (played by Tom Hanks), much to his dismay, because it’s not even close to the type of “juicy pieces” he normally writes about, which are usually far more controversial in subject material. Regardless, his boss Ellen (played by Christine Lahti) tasks him to do it anyway, which Junod begrudgingly agrees to, as she doesn’t give him any other choice.
It’s apparent from the onset of the two meeting that Rogers sees a broken man in Junod, something that he was apparently extremely gifted in doing his entire life with many others, and subsequently always finding unique ways to help heal that brokenness in them as well. In light of that, it doesn’t take long for Rogers to get to the source of Junod’s brokenness, something that immediately makes Junod overly uncomfortable. But, as their relationship develops, the film goer can easily see just how gifted Mister Rogers was in overcoming other’s walls and emotional obstacles to help bring about healing where no one else could.
Overall, I was amazed at how emotional this film made me. From laughter to tears and joy to sorrow, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” totally ran me through the gamut of emotions. When it was all over, I left feeling so uplifted with a sincere desire to not only better myself, but also to help others do the same in their lives as well, just like Mister Rogers once did.
Mister Rogers was truly a blessed man on this planet who made others the priority in his life more than himself day in and day out for the majority of his adult life. Selfless, kind, giving, unconditionally loving, and joyful in spirit, I decided I want to be more like Fred Rogers, especially after seeing this move, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.”
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson