Won’t You Be My Neighbor – Review

Like so many others, Fred Rogers was a huge part of my childhood.  For that reason, I have been in anticipation of seeing this film for so long and I’m happy that it finally has happened.  I got to the theater, running a few minutes behind.  I completely bypassed the popcorn and soda stand, because I didn’t want to miss a second of this story on screen.  It is only every so often that I get so anxious about seeing a film and it only grew as I sat through opening trailers and previews.  I was so in fear that they would take the most inspiring of stories and throw it together poorly, as I have seen in so many other cases.  But then finally, that old familiar face that I would see through several years of my youth was on the screen and it didn’t take me long to feel in debt to the filmmakers who assembled a very real look at all sides of Mr. Rogers and his wonderful neighborhood.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor takes you behind the scenes of not only “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood“, but also behind the scenes of Mr. Rogers himself.  His faith, his struggles, his characters (who all seem to be different parts of his own personality), his political statements, his often adventurous crew and above all else, his un-denying passion, love and understanding of children.  Never before has his story been told so well.  His unique methods of communicating morals, ethics and understanding to children, is only a fraction of what this film offers.  You are also shown how he conquered such topics as racism, sexual orientation and violence in children’s entertainment.  Through interviews with several friends, cast and crew, we learn a lot about the struggles he faced behind the scenes and he often felt up against a wall without any idea what else he could possibly do to help.  A feeling that I believe most of us in today’s society can truly relate to.

For today’s audiences, I think this film is a much needed reality check.  The film doesn’t talk about the everlasting world of chaos, greed, hate and violence that we living in today.  But, for anyone who sees this film, it forces you to reflect on present day politics, how our society is constantly at each other’s throats and also offers a huge reminder that children still exist and are witness to all of these things.

This film is a warm reminder of neighborly love and respect, values sadly lost in so much of today’s society.  Thank you for bringing Fred Roger’s morals and love together to remind and inspire us all.

I truly believe that everyone should see this very well done film.  It is sad that it is only screening in select theaters when it is probably the best documentary film I have seen in years.

From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom), Won’t You Be My Neighbor? takes an intimate look at America’s favorite neighbor: Mister Fred Rogers. A portrait of a man whom we all think we know, this emotional and moving film takes us beyond the zip-up cardigans and the land of make-believe, and into the heart of a creative genius who inspired generations of children with compassion and limitless imagination.