Mr. Rogers is back in the neighborhood

Ricky Miller, Entertainment Editor

“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” looks at how the lives of everyday people can be affected by the most mundane things.

Tom Hanks’ portrayal of Fred Rogers in “A Beautiful Day” is authentic. It’s a pleasant film without any grandiose events. There’s not a single explosion. It’s just not that kind of movie.

Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” (Photo/IMDB)

“A Beautiful Day” is like the television series “Seinfeld” in which “nothing happens.” It is just a slice-of-life tale about life in a small town near Pittsburgh where Rogers lives with wife Joanne (Maryann Plunkett).

The tale finds reporter Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) essentially writing an exposé on Rogers and his ability to always put a smile on kids’ faces. Vogel is upset by the fact that he was assigned to write an entire article about the world’s nicest man. He would rather have written something that involved action or intrigue.

Vogel learns that there is nothing dark or sinister hiding within Rogers’ character. He is just relatable through and through. Vogel wants to dislike this man, but Rogers is just polite, cordial and down to earth. He beams joy through his smile and brings forth genuine friendship. Fred Rogers was the real deal.

Directing chores on “A Beautiful Day” were handled by Marielle Heller who worked on the Oscar-nominated “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” in 2018. She never moves the camera beyond the wholesomeness of Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood. She glides the camera and sets the pieces at just the right mark.

I hate to admit it, but this one is actually in my 10-best list for the calendar year. It comes in at No. 5.

Hanks is aces as Rogers. He brings a certain charm and ease to the role. Audiences will think of him as Fred Rogers through and through. He is the genuine article.

Sure, Rogers may have had problems, but they’re not mentioned here. He had his own brand and a stamp on characters that resided in his own world. I like the fact that I grew up during a time when comic-book-style cartoons were not all the rage.

Hanks will probably be nominated for Best Actor come Oscar time this year. He really is that good in the role. Audiences will embrace him less as a performer, and more the genuine, real deal.

I was speaking with a colleague and friend of mine. We agreed that Rogers is one of the nicest and kindest people on this planet. He is that and more.

As mentioned, I feel a certain bond with Rogers. He always put a smile on my face as a child and brings me joy to this day. The time I spend with him still feels special and genuine.