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A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Movie Poster Image
Biopic captures Rogers' generous spirit, empathy, kindness.
  • PG
  • 2019
  • 108 minutes
 Parents recommend

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 14 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 3 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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

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.

Sex

Married couples embrace, briefly kiss/cuddle in bed.

Language

"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.

Consumerism

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.

What 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, 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bythe.musical.lover November 24, 2019

Beautiful, INTENSE, Bittersweet *All spoilers listed in order for families to decide if their child is ready*

I have never had an experience quite like the one that I had while seeing this movie. I will be going back to see it again. It certainly tugs at all your hear... Continue reading
Adult Written byrickyd2b November 29, 2019

Great movie for grown ups

I hope that Tom Hanks gets the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, but understand that this is a supporting role. Mr. Rogers is not the main character in this movi... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byGardGames December 1, 2019

Positive Messages AND Role Models In Extraordanary Film

Mr. Rogers Is The Biggest Role Model On Television In This Exotic Movie
Teen, 17 years old Written byChris_Feher November 23, 2019

Kids Will Find It Boring

This movie is drama at it's finest. The way it was directed used the original story of Mister Rogers and twisted it to create an emotional and touching sto... Continue reading

What's the story?

A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD isn't a typical biopic, because it doesn't follow its central character through an extended portion of their life. Instead, the movie focuses on the transformational friendship between Esquire magazine journalist Lloyd Vogel (a character who's based on real-life writer Tom Junod and played by Matthew Rhys) and Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks). Lloyd is assigned to profile Rogers for a special spread about cultural heroes. After Lloyd, who's estranged from his father, Jerry (Chris Cooper, always a pleasure to see) -- and has recently become a parent with his supportive wife, Andrea (Susan Kelechi Watson) -- meets Rogers for the first time, he can't believe the man could possibly be as nice as he seems. Their first interaction, on the set of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, is short, so Lloyd and Rogers meet up again and again, striking up an unlikely friendship that transcends that of writer and source.

Is it any good?

This drama is a poignant, powerful tribute to the man who's 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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Mister Rogers' messages in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. What did he teach Lloyd? How did Lloyd change thanks to his friendship with Fred?

  • What does Rogers mean by the idea that "anything human is mentionable, and anything mentionable is manageable"? How can viewers apply that idea in their own lives?

  • Why is Rogers such a beloved role model? How did he show and inspire empathy, compassion, gratitude, and basically all of the character strengths?

  • What current shows continue to educate and inspire the lessons and values that Rogers worked to instill in children?

Movie details

Character Strengths

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