I have been wanting to see the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? for what feels like forever now.
Today, I woke up feeling more anxious than usual for reasons I could not quite pinpoint. So, to calm myself and give myself the good cry that I felt that I needed, I went to see this documentary about a television show that was so crucial in my and hundreds of others development as a child and the man behind it all, Mr. Fred Rogers.
By the end of the film, tears were streaming down my face, not due to anything sad, but due to the fact that a human being that caring about children existed and influenced more lives than he could ever imagine. And, that even 15 years after his passing, he would still be having a profound effect on the world.
All in all, it’s a well made documentary. It is mostly positive, only briefly touching on the anger and frustration that Fred Rogers felt in his later years, specifically after the attack on September 11th in New York City.
The interviews were meaningful, wonderfully cut with footage of Fred Rogers from his television shows and his interviews. It is perfectly edited to pull on all the right heartstrings.
This is a film that will lift you up, make you happy, not once bringing you down. So many documentaries about things that are loved do that, I feel. They show you the good and then they all reveal this actual bad that was going on. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? doesn’t do that. Mainly because there doesn’t seem to be anything bad to say about the man who dedicated his life to his faith and the mental and emotional development of children.
The cultural impact of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood is not lost on anybody. For goodness’ sake, the show is still in reruns on PBS. Mr. Rogers is still helping children. He’s still letting them know that their emotions are just as valid as everybody else’s. And that is such a beautiful thing.
So, if you’re looking for a pick me up, that will almost certainly make you cry, as well, go to whatever theater you can find that is currently playing this film. Spend the money. Go see it. It’s worth it. In today’s day and age, it’s exactly what we need.
And, with that, I leave you with this: