Sunday, December 2, 2018

Review: Won't You Be My Neighbor (on DVD)

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
directed by Morgan Neville [DVD Biography Rogers]

I had the immense pleasure of seeing this documentary biography film about beloved Fred Rogers while it was in the local theaters a few months back, and am excited and proud to have added it to my personal DVD collection as soon as it came out in that format.

This is an absolute charming and well-constructed look at the life of Fred Rogers, particularly focusing on his development of the PBS educational television series, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Through a marvelous combination of archival footage, home movies, and recently-conducted interviews with Fred’s colleagues, family and friends, we see a picture of what influences led Rogers to his ultimate career path. We then also see examples of the thousands and thousands of children, whose lives he touched. I particularly enjoyed seeing him face down a hostile congressional hearing to plead for continued funding for public television.

Though there are many in today’s harsher cultural climate who claim that Mister Rogers had a damaging influence, my own experience was completely the opposite — Rogers was a huge influence on making myself and other kids of my general into better human beings than we might have been had he not had the calling to make his show. I was not the only viewer to leave the theatre with moist eyes after watching this documentary. And I cannot recommend this well-made documentary highly enough. If you’re young enough that Mister Rogers was not a part of your childhood, this film may help you understand some of the quirks of your parents’ generation, and if you grew up with the kind, gentle, reassuring presence that was Fred Rogers and his television Neighborhood, this will certainly bring back some good memories and warm feelings.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Good Neighbor by Maxwell King, or I’m Proud of You by Tim Madigan.] [ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Won’t You Be My Neighbor? web site ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you watched this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

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