I don’t get to attend many movies these days for a variety of reasons. There are not a lot of good ones in the summer months. The best ones are reserved for showing during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. At a time in world history when nations are on edge and there is so much friction, occasionally a film comes along that not only has a great message, but is soothing to the soul. I am referring to A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, which will be released on Nov. 22.
I know that at least two of my four daughters grew up watching Fred Rogers appear on the television screen every weekday morning. On many occasions, I would pass by the set just as his show came on and I was mesmerized by his soft and inviting tone. Being that I was entrenched in the political world, his kind and gentle words were very soothing on a day that I faced many challenges. If he could capture my attention, there was no doubt that he was a gift to my children.
There are so many violent money making films in the theaters these days so it is a daring move for Hollywood producers to produce a movie that may not be a box office success. The choice of Tom Hanks to play this children’s icon is a brilliant one. Hanks has mastered so many movie roles that he was a natural to play Fred Rogers. Hanks has credibility and has no doubt captured the essence of who Mr. Rogers was.
I must stress that this is not a children’s movie. Fred Rogers touched the lives of so many people and the film tells us how he helped adults and children get through their struggles. I recall one morning when he spoke to a child with severe disabilities. The boy was singing one of the 200 songs that Rogers had written. He ended his programs saying, “knowing
that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people.”
As we approach the middle of a long hot summer, the thought of watching a film with multiple feel good messages is very comforting. The upcoming 2020 elections will challenge every American voter to make intelligent choices and try to maintain their sanity. It might not be a bad idea if everyone from President Trump and all his Democratic challengers marked Nov. 22 for a mandatory visit to a local movie theater.