A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood


Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood aired on February 19th, 1968. The show focused on giving children attention as if they were adults by discussing different topics throughout each episode. One may know him just as the man with a red cardigan and blue sneakers, but the host, Fred Rogers, became an inspiration for so many. His show also caught the attention of adults by discussing various amounts of relatable topics while also keeping it balanced with imagination. Mr. Rogers’s show aired until 2001 with 912 episodes in 31 seasons. The film created in 2019, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, takes place in New York, 1998 and the plot focuses on the friendship that Mr. Rogers had with a journalist named Lloyd Vogel. 

Fred Rogers’ World 

“A living saint” is how the character Vogel described Fred Rogers in the film A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, directed by Marielle Heller and starring Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers. The plot revolves around his friendship with Vogel, a character modeled after his real friend and journalist, Tom Junod. The movie began like any Mr. Rogers episode would begin; the theme song in the background, the train, and Mr. Roger walking through his front door, saying good morning to every boy and girl watching. Instead of continuing with the show’s normal games and songs, the audience is introduced to Vogel and how he meets Mr. Roger. 

Vogel’s story is relatable and moving for anyone to watch and presents the film with a gentle, yet serious tone. While watching the film, the audience discovers that Vogel has been hurt emotionally by the neglect of his father and the death of his mother, which both happened during his childhood. Vogel symbolizes negativity, brokenness, and anger. After being given an assignment to write a piece about the famous Mr. Rogers, Vogel wants to discover what makes Mr. Rogers a light in a tunnel of darkness. Rogers also wants to find a way to help Vogel face his issues, instead of running away from them. 

Impactful Subway Ride  

There are many scenes within the film showing the impact Mr. Rogers had on his audience, one example, specifically, is the subway scene. While Lloyd and Mr. Rogers are off to lunch, they board a filled subway cart and are soon interrupted by children singing the theme song to his show. Teens, adults, police officers, and the elderly all begin to sing together for Mr. Rogers. In this, the scene illustrates that the show not only touched the lives of children across the nation, but the lives of previous generations as well. This also explains that the show was able to powerfully connect with and influence the audience because it brought up serious topics such as war, bullying, fear, and how to handle tough situations. Throughout the film, Mr. Rogers wants to help Lloyd handle his issues, making their friendship stronger. 

Message Taught

The audience also learns that Mr. Rogers is not always the happy man he seems to be. Mrs. Rogers informs Lloyd that “he’s [had to work] on” keeping his anger in check for many years and like everyone else, he makes mistakes. In other words, he is “not a perfect person.” When Lloyd finds out that Rogers has had his own battles he has dealt with, he displays to Lloyd that he is not alone. Rogers guides Lloyd into finding forgiveness, which leads him to find love for his father and begin his journey to become a joyous man. The movie is a reflection of Mr. Rogers’ message to his viewers on his television show; one does not have to hide emotions or feel ashamed of how one feels. This can negatively impact one’s mental health. According to Unite For Sight, from the 1950s to the late 1980s, 130,000 people dealt with mental disorders. Mr. Rogers wanted to specifically help his audience who struggle with mental illnesses, providing them with hope and to let them know they are not alone. 

Flim vs Reality 

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood was not only loved by the audience who rated the film a 92/100 score, but the reviewers were also extremely pleased with the movie. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 95/100 stating that it “offers a powerful affecting message about acceptance and understanding.” Internet Movie Database agrees as well, saying this film is “a timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism.” So far, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood made $4.5 million on its first day and continues to make thousands. This movie, according to TIME Magazine, was very accurate besides the small detail that Lloyd’s fictional character is based on Tom Junod. However, Junod “never got in a fight with his father at his sister’s wedding, as Lloyd does– but Junod says that while Lloyd’s on-screen circumstance are fictionalized, the depiction of their friendship is close to reality.” From the film, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, the audience should discover that everyone has their own challenges throughout life. Nevertheless, we should support each other, forgive each other and love each other because nobody can do anything alone. 

“Forgiveness is a strange thing. It can sometimes be easier to forgive our enemies than our friends. It can be hardest of all to forgive people we love.” 

-Fred Rogers