The long-awaited Mr. Rogers movie starring Tom Hanks just premiered on November 22nd with great anticipation. As much as there was excitement for the film, others were more cautious. After all, there was a documentary film just last year about the beloved children's show host. 'Won't You Be My Neighbor' was praised by critics and fans, a true tearjerker of a documentary. Many wondered if there was anything else to say about Fred Rogers and whether a theatrical version was necessary.
Hanks Knew He Had A Big Role To Fill
Tom Hanks was well aware of how significant a role he had to fill and the responsibility he carried when he put on that red cardigan.
"[The cardigan] It's kind of like a suit of armor," Hanks says. "I mean, Batman looks like Batman when he puts on that cape and cowl."
And fans of Mr. Rogers made sure that Hanks never forgot his obligation to do right by the man they admired and loved. In a recent interview, Hanks recalled an encounter he had with a fan in Philadephia while he was shotting the film."The man then said, "Well, I wish you good luck on the rest of your shooting, Mr. Hanks.""He got out before me, and as the door was closing, he turned, and he looked at me, and he said, 'We take Mister Rogers very seriously here,'" recalled Hanks. "His eyes were snake-like for a second, and I'm thinking, 'I believe I have been threatened in the City of Three Rivers."
Critics Loved It
According to critics, the film is a great success and definitely worth seeing. It's been reported that Tom Hanks does do justice to the warm, kindhearted Fred Rogers and that his portrayal embodies the empathetic spirit of the well-loved TV personality. Currently, the film has a 96 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with the Critics Consensus being, "Much like the beloved TV personality that inspired it, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood offers a powerfully affecting message about acceptance and understanding."
Joanne Rogers Was a Consultant for the Film
If you need more assurances about the movie, you can be comforted by the fact that Fred Rogers' widow, Joanne Rogers, was a consultant for the film. She also advised Tom Hanks on her husband's character to help him nail the part. In the years since Fred Rogers' death, Joanne has been a powerful advocate of his legacy of compassion and generosity. 'A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood' comes with Mrs. Rogers' stamp of approval, which should reassure anyone debating whether to see the movie.
Audiences Have Been Loving it, TOo
The critics love the movie, and overwhelmingly, the audience does as well. It's a particularly poignant film for all of those who grew up watching 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.' It was a calmingly pleasant show hosted by a friendly man who was just lovely to watch and listen to. Even though he was just on TV, Mister Rogers always seemed as though he was talking right to you and really cared about you. And the truth of the matter was that he did care about his audience. Mister Rogers took time to answer all of his fan mail, a task he took very seriously.
He was a man who respected his audience and never talked down to them or patronized them in any way. That level of caring is what won his fans' powerful loyalty. Many were naturally anxious that Mister Rogers was portrayed with respect. And based on fans' reactions to that film, Hanks put a level of caring into the role that Mister Rogers himself would have smiled upon.