A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD [BLU-RAY] (2019)
SYNOPSIS: Tom Hanks portrays Mister Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, a timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism, based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. After a jaded magazine writer (Emmy® winner Matthew Rhys, 2018 Best Actor in a Drama Series, The Americans) is assigned a profile of Fred Rogers, he overcomes his skepticism, learning about kindness, love and forgiveness from America’s most beloved neighbor.
In his career spanning over three decades, Tom Hanks has portrayed many real-life characters including astronaut Jim Lovell, congressman Charlie Wilson, Captain Richard Philips, Walt Disney and pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger. In case you are wondering, Forrest Gump is not one of them. In A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood, he plays the late children’s television presenter, Fred Rogers.
Unlike a conventional biography, A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood is not all about Fred Rogers. In fact, it’s more about journalist Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) than the man himself. We must say this might be a disappointment factor for some. Anyway, Lloyd is assigned by his editor at Esquire to do a 400 word article on Fred Rogers. What seems to be a simple task turned out to be a life-changing one for Lloyd as he became an intriguing subject for Rogers instead of vice versa.
Lloyd is a broken, deeply-troubled man, juggling between a newborn son and an estranged father, Jerry (Chris Cooper) who turned up suddenly at his doorstep in an attempt to reconcile with him. Years back, the philandering Jerry has abandoned Lloyd and his sister while their mom was dying in the hospital which resulted in Lloyd’s hatred for him. Remarkably, Fred Rogers end up to be the person aiding Lloyd to let go off his hatred and pain. And this is the story inspired by the relationship between real-life journalist Tom Junod and Rogers.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood is a well-thought yet simple but wonderfully executed movie by director Marielle Heller, writers Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster. The pacing might be excruciating slow but trust us, the journey is more than worth it. Even if you don’t know who Fred Rogers is, Heller manages to convince audiences that this is no ordinary man despite his best attempt to tell you he is no saint nor a hero.
Initially, Lloyd was never convinced of Fred Rogers, sceptical of his off-screen persona and treating him as just a facade. But like what Rogers has imparted him through various meetups, we learnt about Roger’s positivity, never ending enthusiasm to his fans and work and his very own unique way of making the world a better place.
Everything works right here because Tom Hanks magically captured Rogers’ mannerism, the way he speaks and humility even though he is largely a supporting character (just liked Saving Mr Banks) while Matthew Rhys delivers a deeply affecting performance. Liked Rogers’ soothing voice and the lessons he imparts onscreen, this is a sweet movie that speaks volumes about life lessons. The movie even recreates Rogers’ hand puppets right down to the miniature street scenes. And well, there’s a more detailed documentary on Fred Rogers called Won’t You Be My Neighbour? if you can’t enough of the legendary presenter.
Director Marielle Heller and Director of Photography Jody Lee Lipes provides an interesting Audio Commentary which touches on the movie’s various aspects.
There are a total of roughly 16 minutes of Deleted & Extended Scenes and a minute of Blooper Reel.
Tom Hanks talks about taking on the role in Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers.
Hanks introduces the cast and crew in The People Who Make a Neighborhood: The Making Of.
Dreaming Big, Building Small: The Puppets & Miniatures takes a look at recreating and performing the puppets.
Daniel Tiger Explains: Practice Makes Perfect is yet another blooper reel.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack is more than enough to equip the modest movie with a solid dialogue track and lively musical tracks. There are occasional ambient effects but all in all, this is generally a rather quiet title. The visual switches occasional to 4x3 to showcase Roger’s television special and the 1.85:1 presentation is on the whole crisp and sharp.
DVD RATING :
Review by Linus Tee