Laurel and I sniffled a bit off and on all the way back to my house after the movie.
It hit a lot of our buttons. Great movie! My recommendation? Go see it. Just go. Trust me. That's A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood with Tom Hanks playing the role of Fred Rogers.
It is based on the article Can You Say...Hero? written by Tom Junod for Esquire magazine in November of 1998, which can still be found my searching online. Why the writer's name is changed to Lloyd Vogel in the movie is the director's prerogative.
Anyway, I don't do movie reviews so I'll quit talking about the movie and start talking about why I loved Fred Rogers as so many others did as well.
When I first began teaching, I realized immediately that something was "off" with many children. Their attention spans were almost nothing and they seemed easily annoyed and upset. I blamed it on societal woes such as drugs and the lack of cohesiveness in the home. Even decades ago there were few children whose parents were married to each other. And so many people were involved with drugs. Sadly, all of this continues to be prevalent today only now we not only have parents who are involved, we have grandparents and great-grandparents. The poor children!
In the early 1990s, I attended a seminar on children's television programming. Seems that the popular PBS network program featuring a big, yellow bird may have been responsible in part for those short attention spans. Their segments were fast moving and short.
The instructor shared two stories of taking his own children to shows, one featuring the big, yellow bird and company and one featuring Mr. Rogers. In the first, the children were literally bouncing in their seats and off the walls. When the characters came on stage, the place went wild. It was like a rock concert. He, and probably every other adult there, had a massive headache.
At the Mr. Rogers concert, the children were also bouncing off the walls. Then the beautiful Lady Aberlin came on stage and, with her finger to her lips, smiled at the audience and said that Mr. Rogers was a quiet man who needed quiet spaces. If the children would be quiet and sit in their seats, he would indeed come out and they'd have their show. The children settled down immediately and spent a rapt hour listening to Mr. Rogers tell his stories and sing his songs.
My daughter did not begin childhood as a Mr. Rogers' fan, though she has become one. My son, on the other hand, was a Mr. Rogers' fan from the beginning. Perhaps he best loved Lady Aberlin and Daniel and the Land of Make Believe folk. I'll have to ask him. I know that I was smitten then as now with Mr. Rogers himself, a gentle man if ever there was one.