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A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Lloyd (Matthew Rhys) is a journalist who tends to ravage his subjects in magazine articles. His boss assigns him a topic out of his comfort zone: Write a piece about Mr. Rogers for a magazine article on American heroes. The film is about the friendship that develops between Mr. Rogers (played by Tom Hanks) and Lloyd, based on a real-life friendship between Mr. Rogers and the journalist. I liked the movie but did not love it. It felt too “Hallmark Channel” in a field of films this year that soar. Most of the film deals with the relationship between Lloyd and his father (played by Chris Cooper). What comes out is a fairly standard father-son dysfunctional family story accentuated by Mr. Rogers. I loved the documentary that was made about Mr. Rogers last year; in this film, I found that by the end I was saturated with him and the voice. Tom Hanks is the right guy to play Mr. Rogers, but I didn’t think it was among his best in a performance that seemed to me to be strained. The director would probably have been better off not doing close-ups, as the effect wears off; in a close-up, Tom Hanks is less convincing as Mr. Rogers. Thumbs up (moderate at best) for a film that has a nice and satisfying story but has no real depth. But these are the kinds of films that appeal. (2019; 2.5 Stars)

About Gary Burkholder

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