Well, Tom Hanks does play Fred Rogers in A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD but it is not a biopic. It's based on a true 1998 story. Rogers is more of a significant supporting character in it. A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD is based a true story involving a national magazine writer assigned to interview the TV host. The writer balked at the assignment. The real writer's name has been changed to "Lloyd Vogel" for the movie. The writer's work always has a taste of sourness towards humanity. His relationship with his father is in such a bad state that he punched his dad out at a wedding reception and he took a serious blow to the face that he tells co-workers resulted from an accident during a sports activity. The journalist's life will be changed as he spends time with Fred Rogers. A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD is about forgiveness, kindness and doing the work to make yourself a better person. It's about acknowledging one's inner scars. As Fred Rogers says to Lloyd Vogel, "There's no normal life that is free from pain."
A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD was directed by Marielle Heller. She directed Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant to Oscar nominations for 2018's CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? That film, like A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, focuses on real-life misfit writers on the ultimate island of misfit toys -- Manhattan. Both writers have soured on people. Both are angry. Both are talented but behave irresponsibly. Heller gives her new film a gentle yet meaningful tone. Just like Mister Rogers' TV show, it's simple, without frills, and allows space for silence -- silence that has emotional gravity. Characters are allowed to think, to listen to the voice of their own souls. There are moments during conversations when you actually hear a clock ticking in the background before a reply is spoken. To me, Tom Hanks gives a masterful performance. He submerges into the carriage and body language of Fred Rogers. He gets his cadence of speech and the different emotions behind the eyes. This TV host is a man who also has his angers.
If you'd like to see my unexpected red carpet with Tom Hanks in December 1999, watch this reel. Happy Holidays.