What better way to end twelve festival days than with a wonderfully shameless feel-good film? A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood by Marielle Heller will be the closing screening of IFFR 2020. A film about an American children's TV star, played by Tom Hanks in an eternal red cardigan, who demonstrates that kindness beats bitterness.
The American children's television star Mister Rogers is friendly. Very kind and jovial. The man with his red cardigan and pleated trousers sings sweet songs, always listens with interest and finds talking to terminally sick children more important than his work. It confuses investigative journalist Lloyd Vogel. "I just don't know if he's sincere," he tells his Editor-in-Chief.
The film is based on a 1998 Esquire magazine profile on Fred Rogers entitled ‘Can You Say Hero?’. Biographical films usually want to expose their subject, but not A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. It is, in fact, Vogel’s façade that is broken – the encounters that the cynical journalist has with Mister Rogers teach him how to handle his carefully hidden feelings. With this fairytale-like film full of clever visual finds, filmmaker Marielle Heller cleverly balances the edge. A film like a warm bath in which the greatest cynic can immerse themselves.
A Beautiful Day in the NeighborhoodMarielle Heller IFFR 2020 107′
Unabashedly feel-good film about an American kid's TV star, played by Tom Hanks, who shows friendliness can win over the embittered.
Mister Rogers always manages to disarm even the most hardened cynics with his seemingly boundless friendliness. Director Marielle Heller (Can You Ever Forgive Me?) achieves the same with her heart-warming film about forgiveness that never becomes too soppy. Actor Tom Hanks is phenomenal as the famous American kid's TV star.
Photo in header: Still: A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood