Last night, Becky and I went to see the new Tom Hanks movie, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” For those of you who are under 50, you may not know the significance of that title. It refers to the title of a song associated with a children’s TV show hosted by Fred Rogers for more than 30 years, called “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” Most just called it the “Mister Rogers.”
I will admit that I wasn’t a regular viewer of the show, mostly because I was a divorced father and wasn’t able to spend those precious hours with my children that other dads could. However, watching the film, I was moved nearly to tears as I got a glimpse into the magic that made Fred Rogers so very special. For one thing, his TV show addressed the emotional concerns of children, something most children’s programming ignored.
Hanks may be one of the best in Hollywood at capturing the essence of a character, and he certainly outdid himself in his portrayal of a man revered by millions. While the film focused largely on one, isolated incident in Rogers’ life, unrelated to children, it gave the audience a glimpse of Rogers complex personality and many talents. (He was an accomplished pianist, for instance.)
Whether you have children or not, I urge you to see this movie. It will open up your eyes about human relationships, and might even provide some inexpensive psychotherapy. You’ll just have to see the film to learn what I am talking about.
For 109 minutes, last night, it truly was a “beautiful day in the neighborhood,” and I was grateful for the experience.