Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (2018)

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Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Its not always that I get excited for a documentary film. The trailer for this film based on the ever popular child show icon, Fred Rogers, seemed special. It seemed like it would get into the depths of what made this man and his show worth talking about.  I really enjoyed this documentary. There is a lot about the show and what Fred Rogers attempted to create that I wasn’t so aware about, so being able to see it in this feature was eye opening and emotional (believe it or not).

The film is an in depth look at the life of Fred Rogers. It starts with an early look into his life and how he used his talents to get a show on PBS titled Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. The film also shows why exactly the show was groundbreaking for its commentary on racial tensions, acceptance and inclusion, and its bold nature in addressing real world issues that we try to shield from children. The film is composed of excerpts and stories from people who knew Mr. Rogers best in his professional and personal life.

Its not often we see celebrities without vices and problems, but Mr. Rogers seemed to be as squeaky clean as it gets. His profound speech over the PBS funding dispute is even shown in the film. His neighborhood was iconic, if you were a kid growing up in past decades you knew who he was, knew his sweaters, and his routines on the show. The film is a wonderful look into that world and the personality of a man who America loved for his innovative nature.

As mentioned earlier  Fred Roger’s show attempted to cover topics of racism, assassination in politics, bullying, and even mental health. That was extremely bold, not just for its time but because these were sensitive topics for children to talk about. Roger’s importance and unwavering dedication to protecting our youth are on display here. There are some moments in the feature that will get you feeling emotional. I think the film was timely and an overall entertaining look at a very beloved American television icon.

8/10

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