Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (2018)
PG-13 | 1h 34min | Documentary, Biography
Synopsis: An exploration of the life, lessons, and legacy of iconic children’s television host, Fred Rogers.
Review: The moment I heard Fred Rogers’ voice in the new documentary, WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR I was instantly transported back to my childhood. With the sound of the trolley car and the soft purr of Henrietta Pussycat it was if all the worries of the day slowly drifted away. This new film will move you to tears more than once; and make you laugh even more. It is a special film about a very special man who devoted his life to the service and education of children. But what you will discover is how many adults were touched along the way.
Though the film obviously is about Mr Rogers and the passion he had to create his TV show there is a lot of history of both PBS and televisions evolution. As you watch the years unfold you realize how subtle Fred’s teachings were yet how poignant at the same time. Seeing parts of the episodes against the backdrop of the news of the day is powerful. As a child I just thought he was a nice man playing make believe. But seeing it as an adult I see now how he was shaping children with love and caring.
You hear a lot in the film from Mr Rogers family as well as the crew who worked alongside him all those years. There is no doubt that he impacted their lives as much as the children watching. You hear it in their voice and see it in their eyes as they recount their involvement with him. All of us are guilty of being one person in a group and another at home. But, unless they were all lying, what you saw on camera was the same gentle spirit that guided the man in all aspects of his life. It was that genuine kindness that changed hearts.
It is hard to watch this documentary and walk away unchanged. As a parent I instantly saw my son in a new light. I had a determination to speak to him differently and to try and see the world through is eyes. It is a powerful narrative that can do that. Won’t You Be My Neighbor is rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and language. Keep in mind that this is an adult film. Adult meaning that the dialogue and themes would bore young kids to death. Literally. Which if you think about it is counterproductive to Mr Rogers agenda. As an older viewer there is so much to take away from this film and for those who grew up watching Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood it is a sweet journey back in TV time. I give it 5 out of 5 sweaters. Go see it meow meow.