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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Like Mr. Rogers says on his show, the movie encourages people to be neighborly and kind, to forgive those who've wronged us, to count blessings in our lives. He wants every child, every person to believe "each of us is precious." He believes that the best thing adults can do is remember what it was like to be a child -- that sense of awe and wonder, the opportunity to grow. Rogers encourages people not to shy away from tough topics like death, divorce, war ("anything human is mentionable, and anything mentionable is manageable") but to explain them to children at their level and to always provide hope.
Positive Role Models
Rogers is the ultimate contemporary role model for how to live a purposeful life full of love, faith, kindness, compassion, integrity, acceptance, inclusion. He doesn't turn anyone away, loves people no matter their background, wants to help the sad, frightened, broken. His personal mission is to help children feel special, resilient, loved. Lloyd starts off cynical, distrustful, unwilling to bend, but learns to forgive himself and his dad and to get reacquainted with his father before it's too late. He becomes a better and happier person thanks to friendship with Rogers.
Violence & Scariness
A character punches his (drunk) dad, gets punched by someone else at a wedding reception. Lloyd collapses; Jerry passes out. References to a father's negligence and emotional abuse.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Married couples embrace, briefly kiss/cuddle in bed.
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"What the hell," "holy crap." "Freakin'" (as in "Mister Freakin' Rogers"). Rogers shares that he was bullied and ridiculed as a boy, called "Fat Freddie," etc. A man calls a woman "doll," which her husband finds offensive.
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Products & Purchases
Esquire magazine is prominently featured, as is Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Fred and Joanne play a Steinway & Sons piano. Andrea holds the baby in a Snugli.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink, in a couple of cases to excess. References to a father's substance abuse. Background smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is a biopic based on the unlikely real-life friendship between Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks) and journalist Tom Junod (Matthew Rhys). In the movie, cynical writer Lloyd (a fictionalized version of Junod) is hesitant to believe that TV's Mister Rogers can truly be "the nicest man on earth," but as he and Rogers bond, Lloyd's life is slowly transformed, both personally and professionally. Hanks playing Rogers will be enough to appeal to many viewers, and kids familiar with Rogers' show and legacy may be curious to find out whether the man in the cardigan was truly that compassionate and generous (spoiler alert? he was!). There's a little bit of violence (two punches thrown during a fight at a wedding reception) and adult substance use (including background smoking), as well as a couple uses of words like "hell" and "crap" and some marital kissing/cuddling. The movie also deals with serious themes like death, forgiveness, and estranged family relationships. But overall it's quite positive and inspiring. Rogers teaches everyone around him about the power of kindness, love, and connection. He encourages children and adults alike to believe that they're special, worthy of love, and capable of forgiveness. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This drama is a poignant, powerful tribute to the man who embodied kindness and love to children and adults for four decades, thanks to Hanks' fabulous performance. Director Marielle Heller's (Can You Ever Forgive Me?) second unconventional biographical drama isn't a straightforward birth-to-death chronicle but rather a fascinating look at how a jaded man who's highly cynical about father figures and role models learns to forgive, love, and trust more through his growing connection with Fred Rogers. Rhys is well cast as a distrustful Manhattan journalist (his wife, beautifully played by Watson, even begs him "please don't ruin my childhood") who slowly realizes that Rogers is the real thing.
Despite Rhys' compelling storyline as the emotionally closed-off Lloyd, this film belongs to Rogers -- and therefore to Hanks' portrayal of the soft-spoken, cardigan-sporting, devout children's programming creator. Hanks transforms into Rogers without it feeling like a strict imitation. Yes, he captures the essence of Rogers' speaking voice, walk, and overall demeanor (as far as anyone who watched the series is concerned), but the performance isn't a carbon copy; it's an homage. Fred and Lloyd's relationship leads to personal growth and acceptance, and the movie is full of Rogers' philosophy about each child, each person being precious. Rogers was indeed an extraordinary man, and the film is a reminder to everyone that generosity, kindness, security, and love are all we really need to be happy.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.