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#TIFF19 Review: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Gala Presentations)

September 11, 2019

By John Corrado

★★★½ (out of 4)

Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) is a cynical journalist who is assigned to write a short magazine profile of Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks), the star of the TV show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. While Lloyd initially scoffs at having to interview a children’s entertainer, he forms a bond with Mr. Rogers that helps him reconnect with his wife Andrea (Susan Kelechi Watson), with whom he shares a young son, as well as his estranged father Jerry (Chris Cooper).

Inspired by the true story of Tom Junod, who profiled Fred Rogers in an acclaimed 1998 Esquire article and formed a bond with Fred Rogers in real life, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is a lovely portrait of the beloved television host that stays true to his values of treating everyone with kindness. Director Marielle Heller finds a really clever way to get around usual biopic formula by structuring it like an episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, complete with the classic songs, miniatures to transition between scenes, and even a trip to the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

The attention to detail is impressive, and anyone who grew up watching the show will be delighted by A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. This is a moving and magical film that is filled with compassion, offering a touching tribute to Fred Rogers. Tom Hanks is absolutely wonderful in the role, and it’s only fitting to have one beloved American performer portraying another.

Daniel Tiger and Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Public Screenings:

Saturday, September 7th – 6:30 PM at Roy Thomson Hall

Saturday, September 7th – 8:00 PM at Elgin Theatre

Sunday, September 8th – 3:15 PM at Princess of Wales

Saturday, September 14th – 2:30 PM at Elgin Theatre

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