Won’t You Be My Neighbor (2018)

This documentary shares the life and times of the late Fred Rogers and his career in children’s television.

Director: Morgan Neville

Cast: Rogers family including archive footage of Fred Rogers, various people that worked on the show.

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some thematic elements and language.

Fun Fact: Betty Aberlin who was on the show declined to be a part of the documentary due to not giving interviews for years and felt deeply insecure being on camera.

Growing up I’m pretty sure most of you have watched at least a few episodes of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood in some way or another. Either on PBS or some other form of media, Mr. Rogers’ show focused on things that were going on in the world and teaching children about them. I for one watched it for a bit but, stopped when I got to about first grade or so when that wasn’t the “cool” thing to do.

What we have here is a fantastic documentary and one of the best that I have seen in a good while. It’s well paced and informative and a delight to watch. While it’s informative, it also pays tribute to a man who’s mission was to educate children on what was going on in the world at the time. Most children don’t really understand what goes on in the world and Mr. Rogers would bring the subject or issue up in a way that a child would understand. He used puppets and other character’s to talk about the subject. He always would tell the viewer that they were special and that the was the most important part to them. Director Morgan Neville really shines a light on this subject and he pays tribute through the whole hour and ninety minutes.

I also didn’t realize how ground breaking the show was at the time as it had an African-American man playing a police officer. When the show started back in the 1960’s something like that in society was a touchy subject in society. Mr. Rogers would show his audience that it didn’t matter who you were or what you did. You would always be his neighbor.

Looking at today’s society, and at this documentary, it will make you question something. That question is what would Mr. Rogers do and say today? Today’s society can be cruel and mean spirited and would Mr. Rogers be a shining light to people like he was when he was around? When we turn our television sets on we see lots of negative things on our screens. Those were some of the questions that I had while watching the documentary.

Overall, Won’t You Be My Neighbor is a fantastic documentary and one of the best that I have seen a long time. It’s informative on how the show became to be and the man behind it, but also a tribute on to who and what it meant to people. Generations of people grew up watching the show and it left something meaningful to them in some way. With what’s going on in today’s society maybe we need to spread this around more for people to see what a positive person Mr. Rogers was.

Verdict: Hit

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