Starring: Tom Hanks, Matthew Rhys, Chris Cooper, Susan Kelechi Watson, Maryann Plunkett

Director: Marielle Heller

Release date: 31st January 2020

 

The year is 1998 and Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) is presenting an award at the National Magazine Awards. He is an investigative journalist for a very high profile magazine and is good at his job, but pulls no punches in his writing.. His sister is getting married in Jersey and so Lloyd, his wife Andrea and their baby son, Gavin head there from their apartment in New York. Unfortunately for Lloyd he soon discovers that his estranged father, Gerry has been invited as well and this is terrible news. Past events have led to Lloyd ‘hating’ his dad and he has no intention of going anywhere near him. An altercation at the wedding reception leads to a fight and Lloyd comes off worst. Nursing his wounds, he gets called into work and his editor tells him he has a new assignment; to profile the well known kids TV personality, Mister Rogers (Tom Hanks). Lloyd thinks she’s joking; he’s an investigative journalist who looks into hard hitting news stories, not one who writes puff pieces. He has no choice though and off he goes to meet Mister Rogers on set in Pittsburgh. The pair talk and Lloyd immediately thinks he’s a nutjob, talking nonsense… Lloyd’s life is a mess, can Mr Rogers help him get some clarity?

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The film is based on the true story of the friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist, Tom Junod, who wrote an article about Fred in 1998 called, “Can you say… hero?”. The article is still to this day seen as a shining piece of journalism and a much read profile of the children’s TV star.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’ is Tom Hanks at his very best. You always know exactly what you’re getting when you hear that he’s doing a new film and most times he’s portraying a factual person. He fully inhabits the role and you can clearly see why Mister Rogers was so adored and revered. He impacted many many lives over the years.

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A wonderful story with a lot of heart, ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’ is definitely one to watch. There’s a fantastic supporting cast and also the brilliant Matthew Rhys as journalist, Lloyd Vogel. If you love Tom Hanks then you’ll more than likely love this movie.

Overall: 8.5/10

 

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