Tom Hanks absolutely shines as he transforms into the beloved children's show star in a role his career has been perhaps always leading to. Hanks embodies all that is Fred Rogers, from his delicate mannerism to beautifully authentic warmth with others. Hanks pulls at your heartstrings with every word uttered during the film's run.
Tom Hanks, however, is not the only actor to be lauded for his performance, as co-stars Matthew Rhys (Lloyd Vogel) and Chris Cooper (Jerry Vogel) deliver outstanding ones in their own right. The father-son struggle presented in the film allows for each actor to flush out raw emotion that transcends with the audience. Rhys and Hanks too have this tremendous chemistry that has each actor radiating in the scenes they share.
The film brings back many aspects of nostalgia for viewers of the original show as Hanks and company perfectly recreate iconic scenes and moments. The film also does an excellent job intercutting from the show's original 4:3 aspect ratio and 2 camera set up to modern film production. This allows for these scenes to have a unique presentation as we jump from Mr. Rogers' neighborhood to the film. Director Marielle Heller (Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)) and writing duo Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster work meticulously to bring Mr. Rogers' world to life, allowing for the film to feel authentic in each and every way.
This film is about Mr. Rogers' impact on one person's life on its surface. However, looking slightly beyond unveils much more in that it is a look at the human condition and Mr. Rogers' exceptional understanding of it. It explains the importance people have in each other's lives and how much we depend on one another, something Mr. Rogers very much understood and exemplified in his life's work. Sometimes you need Mr. Rogers to explain it to you as he always finds a way to make it easy to understand and feel better about. The world could do with more Mr. Rogers and this film shows us just exactly why.