On Friday, November 22nd, I went to see the "Mr. Roger's" movie "A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood." I'd seen a couple of previews and it looked interesting -- that with the memories of watching the original series in the 70's -- I wasn't sure exactly what to expect.
The opening scene flooded my mind with memories of days gone by. I knew every word and eagerly anticipated the next. Honestly, it was similar to seeing a long-lost, cherished friend and the joy you thought was lost.
My favorite parts of the show growing up was when Trolley took us from Mr. Roger's home to the "Neighborhood of Make-Believe." To this day, I cannot pinpoint what exactly I enjoyed most about it -- maybe it was the puppets and their many different personalities. All the same, at a young age, I always looked forward to that portion of the show.
It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood...
- Fred Rogers (as portrayed by Tom Hanks) had a calming nature about him. Being in his presence was a seat of honor, as he took the time to be present with no distractions and made constant eye contact. He knew how to thoughtfully ask the hard questions and thoughtfully, without preconceived judgement or attitude, patiently wait on an answer. He was not rude. He was soft-spoken and genuinely cared about people. He loved children and provided a stage (Mr. Roger's Neighborhood) where children could learn how to deal with the everyday experiences of their lives in a positive manner.
- Lloyd Vogel (portraying Tom Junod) was a lost soul who did not know he was lost. His childhood was less than perfect-- his father leaving him behind as his mother was dying -- left Lloyd with a load of negative emotions with no where to go but inward. As an adult, he still carried those feelings with him and they seeped out in his life, creating chaos.
- The interactions between Lloyd and Fred is impactful. Each movie viewer has the opportunity to experience something unique, depending on where they are in their own journey.
- "Neighborhood of Make-Believe" was a place where children (and adults) can learn about life lessons. Where they can learn it is okay to be afraid, angry, hurt - but it is what you do with those feelings that make all the difference.
- Four of my favorite moments:
- The first one, I apologize for paraphrasing: Lloyd was talking negatively about his Dad. Fred listens, slowly processes and softly shares with him that "no matter our relationship or feelings toward our parents, our parents helped us become the person we are today. The way they are/were had an impact on the type of person we became/become."
- The second one, was when Fred asked Lloyd to do something for him -- close his eyes, and take 1 minute to be quiet and think of all the people's names that have been part of his life.
- The third one, was all the children and adults on the subway singing the theme song -- I was really surprised at the emotions that filled my soul!
- The fourth one, was seeing Fred attempt to put up a tent while filming.
Overall, this is one of those films that every person needs to stop and go see. Watching it one time allows you to see just beneath the surface of who Fred Rogers was and how incredibly impactful he was. He saw the needs of so many hurting children - children that would become adults - and found a format to reach them on a personal level.
My next step?
I wouldn't mind watching the movie again, in addition to reading the article by Tom Junod plus a biography of Fred Rogers.
Fred Rogers....an amazing man with an amazing legacy in his neighborhood.