An exploration of the life, lessons, and legacy of iconic children's television host Fred Rogers.An exploration of the life, lessons, and legacy of iconic children's television host Fred Rogers.An exploration of the life, lessons, and legacy of iconic children's television host Fred Rogers.
I didn't grow up with Mr. Rogers, I hadn't even seen an episode of his show until my later years. Despite this, I came into Won't You Be My Neighbor? as eagerly as possible. When I came out, I was almost speechless. The conversation I had with the people I'd seen the movie with was almost too jumbled to be understandable. I was at a loss for words, and it was a good thing. Few documentaries have been able to capture the spirit, humanity, and works of a person this well.
The tone of the movie is set almost immediately; old footage plays showing a much younger Rogers playing the piano and giving reason for his ambitions. He doesn't seem to be too full of himself, and the concept he has in mind is one that is both humble and sweet. Even before he's given the ability to use his talents, he seems as if he's right next to them. The strong point of this film, for sure, is it's humane portrayal of Rogers. It doesn't just linger on the fact that he did good things, it explores what made him want to do those good things. His motivations make sense, and he, as a person, nearly brought tears to my ears several times. I didn't cry at all, but I'd be lying if I said I never came close to it.
There really isn't much else to say about this. This is a profound, well-made documentary that does its job excellently. I can't think of a single thing that made the engrossing experience of watching Roger come to life on a big screen any less engrossing. I loved it and will most likely see it again when it finally gets the wide release it deserves.
- Jun 10, 2018