Mr. Rogers is someone that probably had some kind of effect on many people our age. He was on television with different shows for about 50 years, and most of his time was spent trying to better the lives of children. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? takes a deep look at his life and work and the effect they had on so many people.
It’s a documentary
It’s probably a good idea to mention this is a documentary. There are a lot of biopics these days, but this film is a documentary, and it is better served because of it. Even though Fred Rogers is no longer alive, the film is able to take advantage of interviews and behind the scenes footage of him. Because of this, it is almost as if Rogers himself is telling this story. There are plenty of other people interviewed as well, but they serve more to supplement everything Rogers says. This makes it seem so much more genuine. In a way, it isn’t just people telling the story of Rogers, but it is Rogers telling his own story.
Why him, why now?
Every film is made for a reason, and this one is no exception. Rogers would be an interesting character at any point in time, but he especially is right now. First of all, he was primarily interested in children, because he recognized the impact that they would have on the world in the future. He brought constant positivity and explained in every episode of his show that every person has inherent value in them. He said, “you don’t ever have to do anything sensational for people to love you,” which should hit home hard for everyone.
Each morning, he would bring these positive thoughts to the thousands of kids tuning in. He would even indirectly comment on the bad things going on in the world so kids could understand them. But he would do it in a mature way, so adults could learn from it, too. This was so effective that he was brought back for one more television appearance after 9/11 because of the calming effect he had on people. He just had that much of an influence.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor? suggests that we could use Rogers, or someone like him, in the world today. With all the hate and negativity in the world, Rogers was always a beam of positive light. We could certainly use something like that now.
You can see Won’t You Be My Neighbor? at Parmer Cinema on Friday, November 9 at 6 and 9 p.m. and Saturday the 10th at 3, 6 and 9 p.m.
Photo retrieved from today.com.