Mr. Rogers – Best Documentary or Film

Mr. Rogers – Best Documentary or Film

If you haven’t seen the new Documentary ‘Mr. Rogers: Won’t You Be My Neighbor’ … Go. I mean stop reading right now and go. Even if you don’t think you like documentaries … Go.

Chip was up in Boston last Saturday. So I figured let me go check this out. We normally aren’t big movie goers and Chip is definitely not a documentary person.

Now, in the Fall, Tri-Star pictures is going to start filming a Mr. Rogers feature film titled, ‘You Are My Friend.’

My advice to Tri-Star, don’t even bother. No matter how charming Tom Hanks (scheduled to play Mr. Rogers) , he will never capture the genuine character of the real thing.

A Smidge Skeptical

The Mr. Rogers Documentary was introduced at the Sundance Film Festival in late-January 2018 to rave reviews.

Hmmm. It started with a limited release and is now getting expanded because everyone loves it. Me included.

My Question is …

Is it a coincidence that the documentary came out before the feature film? I mean feature films are planned and funded months in advance of shooting.

The skeptic in me says “I bet Tri-Star supported the documentary and it’s distribution to bring Mr, Rogers back to top of mind. Then, they come out with their feature film to a primed market and boom box office success.”

I’m Not Sure That’s Going to Happen

In fairness, the premise of the two movies are completely different.

The Mr. Rogers documentary focuses on relationships and his dedication to breaking down complex events in the news and culture for children to understand. Each show had a distinct message. And, with all this, he connects on a real one-to-one level to make each child feel how their uniqueness makes them special.

As for the movie, it’s about a reporters relationship with Mr. Rogers and how it changed her life.

Perhaps Really Not All That Different

In the documentary, which is made up of clips and interviews with family and people involved in the show’s creation, each person said how Mr. Rogers connected with everyone and changed all their lives.

The Mr. Rogers Documentary Viewing Experience

I’m a big mush. From about 5 minutes in to the end, I was frequently tearing up and remembering certain episodes from a child’s eye and realizing its impact now.

The most powerful part of the documentary was the pause. As I understand, each show he would take a minute to have a subtle or actual silent time.  I do remember the pause sections of the show.

At the end of the movie, they asked each contributor to stay silent for a full minute and focus on the person who made the deepest impact on their lives. Each and every person was in tears before they even shared who it was and why.

Some people just cried without sharing their muse.

As I Walked Through the Parking Lot

The theater was mostly individuals there with a couple people there in pairs.

As I said, the movie was very powerful from a reminiscent standpoint and an insightful one.

In the parking lot, after transitioning from darkness to light, a woman came up next to me. She told me she was sitting a few rows back and noticed she and I were emotional at many of the same parts.

We walked a few steps together to our cars and if we tried to describe a piece of the movie we both couldn’t get the words out.

It probably worked out well. If we both weren’t tearful, I probably would have talked to her for an hour. She may not realize how lucky she was.

Now What About The Feature Film

It will probably do fine, but it will lack the true authenticity that the documentary held.

Tom Hanks has touched many people’s lives with amazing performances and transformations. However, Mr. Rogers will be impossible to emulate.

Rogers was thoughtful, spiritual, curious, applicable and deliberate in a sensitive way.

His level of care and commitment were innate and his life’s work all at the same time.

He created a safe world for children. A loyal world for those who worked with him. Friendships with those who felt alone or friendless. And, created a world of make believe that was actually real.

Highly Recommend

If you have a few hours and 9 dollars, go to see the Mr. Rogers documentary ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor.’

Let me know how you liked it or share a favorite Mr. Rogers memory from your childhood.

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