Starring Fred Rogers, Joanne Rogers
Directed by Morgan Neville
2018 / 94 Minutes / Universal Pictures / Focus Features

I never really watched Mr. Rogers when I was a kid. I was more a Sesame Street kid. Also it never aired where I lived so it was never a part of my childhood. So with that said I had a hard time connecting emotionally with this, but I do recognize through this film the importance and amazing work he did and the child at heart that he was.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor is an interesting and touching documentary about the iconic children’s television host. The film explores his life and career of teaching children compassion and kindness. Watching this I couldn’t help it wonder what he would’ve thought about where the world is today. I think he was here at the right time for his own sanity, but sadly the world could probably use some of his lessons in compassion about now.

I found it fascinating and interesting to see how much he has influenced children’s television over the years. There is a great scene in the documentary showing him saving PBS’s funding. It was remarkable seeing him giving his speech in his simple and quiet voice and winning everyone over. It was quite fascinating to witness.

Had I watched his show growing up the film may have resonated more for me. I felt a disconnect having not grown up with it. I knew who he was and I knew the show from clips and comedy sketches, but that was about it. The theatre was shedding tears, but for me I was more fascinated by the person than his career. That said Won’t You Be My Neighbor is a poignant and really well made and deeply personal documentary that is definitely worth visiting.

Grade B

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