Movie Review: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood


A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: B+

Not since Dr. Lecter coerced Clarice Starling to confront her deep rooted fears has a movie character so successfully invaded the human psyche. Come hell or high puppet, this engrossing supporting character is going to get in your head. A tale of a life transformed by iconic child advocate Fred Rogers, Marielle Heller’s sentimental, sensational and occasionally subversive A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (B+) is a relatively conventional drama played magically in a lower key than expected. Matthew Rhys should get more credit than he will for his excellent portrayal of a cynical investigative journalist tasked with interviewing a veritable patron saint of optimism. Tom Hanks is a marvel as Mr. Rogers, channeling the gentle giant with peculiar perception. Heller frames the film with delightful miniatures from the iconic television show and chronicles an effective domestic drama with strong performances from Chris Cooper and Susan Kalechi Watson as the reporter’s estranged father and bright wife. There’s one moment of potent uplift that will have each viewer using imagination to inventory emotions with stunning clarity. It’s an ideal Thanksgiving release with a message to embrace one’s singular station and particular burdens and help build community one person at a time.

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