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FREE FILM SCREENING: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019)
June 16, 2021 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pmFree
Dir: Marielle Heller
Stars: Matthew Rhys, Tom Hanks, Susan Kelechi Watson
Run Time: 109mins
Country: US / Chi
This incredibly moving reimagining of Tom Junod’s journalistic piece on the cultural significance of children’s TV presenter Fred ‘Mr.’ Rogers, was one of the standout films of the pre-Covid awards season. Marielle Heller (The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Can You Ever Forgive Me?) manages to make a minor masterpiece out of what sounded like thoroughly unpromising material.
For a certain generation of children in America, Mr. Rogers (Tom Hanks) was an avuncular fixture of their television viewing, as his seemingly whimsical TV show helped so many young people navigate some of the more complicated and thorny issues of growing up. Heller turns to Hollywood icon Tom Hanks, who for a large part of his career has served as an ideal of American moral integrity, to play the man who seemingly has no angle or filter. However, the real revelation here is the sensational performance of Matthew Rhys as a journalist and new father, whose own childhood was marred by the separation of his parents and his mother’s early death. Rhys’ carefully modulated anger and resentment is one what drives the film and creates an unexpectedly spiky interaction with the beloved children’s presenter. It is a performance worthy of an Oscar, but didn’t even get nominated.
NOTE: Bad language, moderate violence and complicated family relationships