Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with news anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including “Frozen 2,” “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” “Marriage Story” and “Waves.”
A weekly feature from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest and most interesting movies! This week Richard looks at “Frozen 2,” Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” and Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson in “Marriage Story.”
Richard has a look at the new movies coming to theatres, including the icy charms of “Frozen 2,” Tom Hanks as television icon Mister Rogers in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” two films from Adam Driver, “Marriage Story” and “The Report” and one of the year’s very best films, “Waves” with CFRA morning show host Bill Carroll.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk the new movies coming to theatres including “Frozen 2,” the highly icy sequel to one of Disney’s biggest animated hits, Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” and two films from Adam Driver, “Marriage Story” and “The Report.”
What begins as an interview for a magazine piece becomes a series of impromptu therapy sessions that change a man’s life. Based on the Esquire article “Can You Say…Hero?” by Tom Junod, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” is the story of a person’s ability to find and give forgiveness.
Matthew Rhys is Lloyd Vogel (based on Tom Junod), a journalist with a newborn baby, a hair trigger temper, daddy issues and a habit of writing scathing profiles of his subjects. After a nasty incident at his sister’s wedding involving his estranged father Jerry (Chris Cooper) leaves him with the blackeye and a gash on his nose, his editor at Esquire assigns him a puff piece, a four-hundred-word sidebar on children’s broadcaster Mister Rogers (Tom Hanks) for an issue on Heroes. He doesn’t want the gig, thinking it is beneath his hard-hitting style. “Am I’m supposed to go easy on this guy because he plays with puppets for a living?”
Nonetheless, he travels to Philadelphia’s WQED, home of the Mister Roger’s show for a planned hour-long interview. He arrives to find the television icon spending time with a Make-A-Wish kid. He watches as Mister Rogers finds a way to connect with the distracted child. Later Rogers turns the table on Lloyd, answering his questions with questions, looking for answers as to why Lloyd is battered and bruised.
Back in New York, despite his editor’s instructions to keep it simple, Lloyd wants to go deeper. “I’m just not sure if he’s for real.” “Lloyd, please don’t ruin my childhood,” begs his wife Andrea (Susan Kelechi Watson).
When Lloyd’s father Jerry has a life-threatening heart attack the lessons Mister Rogers imparts I their interviews about giving children a way to deal with their feelings begin to take on deeper meanings for Lloyd.
“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” isn’t a biopic of Mister Rogers, or a maudlin story of a bitter reporter with a father complex. It’s about decency, positivity as a powerful force and the importance of mentors, all filtered through the lens of a man who spoke to everyone, not just children.
Hanks goes beyond impersonation to unearth someone with hidden pockets of anger—hinted at but never fully displayed until the film’s final, elegiac moments—that help him understand Lloyd’s troubled relationship with his father and his seemingly unquenchable thirst to lash out.
Hanks takes the simple, home-style psychology—”There’s always something you can do with the mad you feel,” he says.—and imbues them with humour, earnestness and heart without dipping into saccharine sentimentality. It is a remarkable performance that could have simply relied on the tried and true portrait of Mister Rogers we’re familiar with from television but Hanks breathes life into it.
In one nervy scene Rogers and Lloyd “take a minute to think about all the people who loved us into being.” For sixty, silent seconds they stare at one another, allowing their minds to drift. Director Marielle Heller lets the moment sink in and in the silence—even the background noise is blocked out—we are reminded how little time we all spend, day in and day out, in quiet contemplation. It may be the movie’s most telling scene, the one that details how far away society has moved away from the core values of kindness and understanding Rogers preached.
“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” is, in many ways, a boilerplate story. The tale of a father and son separated by hate and time is something that we’ve seen many times and despite nice work from Rhys and Cooper, is the least compelling part of the movie. It’s the McGuffin that allows the chance to re-examine Mister Rogers’ potent, humanistic messages.