Won’t You Be My Neighbor?★ 1/2

Button up your sweater, lace up those sneakers and run to the nearest theater showing this affectionate portrait of the late Fred Rogers, the kind-hearted television host who guided generations of children through emotional ups and downs, treating them with a respect that they rarely received elsewhere. Bring tissues, too. Even if you weren’t fortunate enough to have grown up with Fred (affectionately known as Mister Rogers) and the life lessons and civility he imparted on our nation’s youth throughout the second half of the 20th century, the waterworks will open up at some point during this nostalgic documentary, which will make you wish you did. Director Morgan Neville (Oscar winner of best documentary for 20 Feet from Stardom) has the unenviable task of distilling nearly 900 episodes of low-budget, but miraculously magical public programming involving hand puppets and toy trolleys into 94 minutes of basic human decency and kindness—which is something we could all use in these deeply divided times. In addition to memorable clips of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the film is made up of photos, home videos and archival interviews with Fred himself, as well as new interviews with his friends, family and members of his cast and crew, which have been blended together with animated segues and smiles—lots and lots of smiles. Perhaps you’ve seen footage of Fred addressing the U.S. Senate back in 1969, singlehandedly convincing them to allocate $20 million toward continued funding of PBS. This movie might just make a contributor out of you. (At Boston Common, Coolidge Corner and Kendall Square.)


Related Articles

  • The Third Murder

    Catch one of Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda's dramas playing exclusively at the Brattle Theatre through Aug. 15...

  • Puzzle

    Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald gives a moving performance in Marc Turtletaub’s 'Puzzle'...

  • Wake Up!

    Spike Lee’s latest ‘Joint’ offers a wildly entertaining punch to the gut in 'BlacKkKlansman'...

  • What to Watch This Weekend

    Check out these movies playing in Boston...

Comments are closed.