Today we’re talking about the 2019 movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.
This isn’t the story of Mister Rogers. It’s a story where he’s a force of nature and personality, making him feel surreal and almost prophet-like.
The actual story is a basic workaholic writer with daddy issues. It’s the kind of thing that makes English majors roll their eyes and critics salivate.
That being said, the parts with Mister Rogers were expertly done. He’s part guru, part prophet, and part therapist.
The characters aren’t boring, but they are overall cliché. The story was paced to keep me watching but I couldn’t care less about the characters.
However again Mister Rogers and his wife were fantastic.
This movie was way quippier than you’d expect or than it had any right to be. From jokes about the sister’s third wedding, to quotes from Mister Rogers, to dialogue between the characters.
While the characters were pretty boring, the dialogue was authentic and interesting.
Visuals and Music
The visuals were interesting. I liked that the cuts were versions of models like in the Mister Rogers show. I liked that they switched to full screen for the fake clips of the show. I even enjoyed the fever dreams of the main character. But at some point the movie crossed into the WTF just happened and then stopped doing anything. The last 15-20 minutes the cuts become real etc. It’s jarring and ignoring some trite, “it represented the character becoming more intune with his real life once he accepted his father and emotions”, it wasn’t well done.
The music was mostly forgetful or taken directly from the Mister Rogers show. There was a great piano duel between Mister and Mrs. Rogers.
I didn’t like it. But I did like parts of it. The surreal aspects and quippy dialogue. The saintly Mister Rogers reminded me of a great Doctor Who quote: “Good men don’t need rules. Today is not the day to find out why I have so many.”
Tom Hanks is spectacular, the dialogue is great, and the nostalgia is fun but beyond that it’s a typical white male 30 something writer’s story.
If you replaced Mister Rogers with Jesus or some other saint like figure you’d get the same story but with less people caring.
Final Score: 3.0