Directed by: Morgan Neville
Starring: Fred Rogers
Distributed by: Focus Features
Running time: 93 minutes
Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars
“It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, A beautiful day for a neighbor, Would you be mine? , Could you be mine?” In the 1980’s these lyrics to the opening song in “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”, started my day as a kid! This is a show that I watched ALWAYS! I loved “Mister Rogers Neighborhood”. He was a very special person and there isn’t anyone else around like him today. I feel like the world would be a better place if people really cared about others. I mean really cared. We are way to skeptical people these days and times when “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” first debuted people looked to him, like myself, as a role model. They listened to him and trusted what he said. “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” is a fantastic trip back into the world of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”. Get your tissue box ready cause this one is guaranteed to hit those heart strings!
Director Morgan Leville, knows best for his His Oscar winning 2014 film, “20 Feet From Stardom”, which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. He is back and this time focusing on a legend that perhaps doesn’t get the recognition that he deserves. This film is also quite an eye-opener. It makes you think about the world and how it’s changed and what we can do to help the future for our children. This documentary will actually make you wish you lived in a time when things were simpler. Daily, Mister Rogers would make sure to tell everyone watching how special they are for just being them! Now what is wrong with that?!. With all the hate and disgust coming out of the media and the world today, I don’t know how Mister Rogers would have fit in today’s world…but I wish his influences were recognized more. The film showcases a big part in the history of PBS and Fred Rogers, when he testified before Congress in order to get funding. If he wouldn’t have stood up for what he believed in and left his heart on the table exclaiming how he help kids and how he feels like he is an important part of their lives things would be much different since ended up getting the funding and changed children’s TV forever.
“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” is a tight feature, running around 90 minutes. It goes fast and leaves you with happy tears leaving the theater. The documentary brings to light various issues that the show dealt with rather it be protesting or hiding sexuality of the co-cast and showcased some pranking on set during the production. I never knew that side since I was a young kid. The film has a slight edge to it, so I wouldn’t show this to kids. This is a documentary for adults, who were influenced in their life by Fred Rogers and the important work that he did. I really enjoyed getting to meet some of the cast from the show in the present and what they have been up to. There are tons of great archive footage as well with great interviews and behind-the-scenes content with Fred Rogers. One thing I take away from this movie is that I will be sure to try everything I can to keep his spirit alive with my own family and moving on! Good see this movie ASAP and remember to bring those tissues!