It’s hard to overstate the impact Fred Rogers had on American culture. For three decades, he enchanted generations of children with his television show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Gently paced, the show was a safe haven, where Rogers entertained but also tackled problems that his young viewers might have to face as they grew up - his motto was, ‘If you can mention it, you can manage it’.
An excellent Matthew Rhys, playing magazine writer Lloyd Vogel (based on journalist Tom Junod) is commissioned to write an article on the presenter. He regards Rogers as an monolith of an unfashionable past – a relic whose style and ideas are outdated. He is also deeply suspicious: ‘Could anyone really be so good, so kind?’ But on spending more time with Rogers, Vogel begins to question his own misanthropic outlook. As a Hollywood star admired for his integrity, Tom Hanks is perfectly cast as Rogers, and ingenious direction from Marielle Heller also ensure that you don’t need to know who Rogers was for this film to work its magic.
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