A Beautiful day in the Neighborhood is the movie about Mr. Rogers’s relationship with a journalist who profiled him for an issue of Esquire in 1998. This movie, unlike the documentary Won’t you be my Neighbor, does not talk much about Mr. Rogers’s life or his show; instead, it focuses on his relationship with the journalist.
If you want to learn more about my personal history with Mr. Rogers’s television show and my childhood, read the review to Won’t you be my Neighbor linked to above.
In this review, I will discuss some of the plot to demonstrate how I related to the movie. If you don’t want to know much about the movie, stop reading now.
With Emma having passed, Ufi battling cancer, and all the issues I have faced with my eye, it was a good time for me to receive some of Mr. Rogers’s wisdom. I went to A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood expecting the experience to be somewhat emotional, and I wasn’t disappointed. Since I hadn’t read the Esquire article or any reviews of the movie, I wasn’t sure how I would begin thinking about my life or what parts of my life I would consider. All I knew was it was going to be more intense than the usual watching of a movie.
The main focus of the movie is the way getting to know Mr. Rogers impacts the journalist’s, in the Movie his name is Lloyd, relationship with his father. Lloyd’s childhood, especially his relationship with his dad, wasn’t good.
As a person who also had a difficult childhood and lots of bad memories of their father from childhood, I could relate to Lloyd. Like Lloyd, I wound up resolving a lot with my dad as his life was ending. Unlike Lloyd, I didn’t have Mr. Rogers to help me get there.
Watching Lloyd go from angry to forgiving reminded me so much of a journey I took over a decade ago. As long as I live, I will never forget my dad apologizing to me. Still, that’s one of those important memories that’s too emotional to call on too often. But the scene where Lloyd’s dad finally apologized brought back that warm April night from 2006 with a vividness I haven’t felt it since.
I was at the movie. I was listening to Lloyd and Mr. Rogers talk. I was remembering the smell of my dad’s room. I could almost feel the warm breeze blowing through his open window.
The audio description told me tears were falling down Lloyd’s face, or something like that, and I rubbed my eyes. I was glad Mom and Barb were talking to each other. That was a moment I needed to myself.
When Lloyd’s dad was dying, Mr. Rogers reminded the family that anything that is mentionable is manageable. Thinking about that truth, I was reminded of how Mom and I were working through the pain created by our loss of Emma by talking about her every day. I then thought about how I can talk about Ufi’s death. So, his death is mentionable. Ufi’s death will be traumatic. Ufi’s death will also be manageable.
I certainly got my money’s worth out of going to A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. For about 11 dollars, I was able to reflect on how far I’ve come and remember how I will overcome something I’m currently kind of afraid of facing.