About the film
Runtime: 109 mins
Director: Marielle Heller
Actors: Tom Hanks, Chris Cooper, Matthew Rhys, Susan Kelechi Watsonased on a 1998 Esquire profile, this is the story of bitter and troubled journalist Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys, The Americans), who gets tasked with interviewing the world’s most disarmingly kind TV host, Mr. Fred Rogers. Suffering from his own personal turmoil (having recently punched out his own dad at a wedding), Vogel initially balks at the assignment as kid’s stuff. But somewhere between the goofy puppets on set and Mr. Roger’s good-natured counter-interview probing, Vogel finds his defenses starting to crack, and his world beginning to open up.
Far from a standard biopic, A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD is set up ingeniously as a full-length, grown-up episode of the classic PBS show, replete with fourth-wall breaking and that warm public access glow.
Director Marielle Heller (CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?) sets up a captivating story that manages to be earnest and heartfelt without ever coming off maudlin. Tom Hanks is casually brilliant as he dons the red cardigan, mixing his own cinematic goodwill with that of Rogers’ enduring quirks, while Matthew Rhys is highly relatable as the hardened cynic who just can’t help but be won over by America’s best neighbor.