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Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood, A


Stars: Tom Hanks, Matthew Rhys, Chris Cooper, Wendy Makkena, Maryann Plunkett, Susan Kelechi Watson, Tammy Blanchard

Director: Marielle Heller

This riff on last year's excellent documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor? finds evangelical children's TV presenter and all-round good egg Fred Rogers (here played by Hanks) welded to a faintly glutinous, semi-fictional story about an angry magazine writer (Rhys), who's even angrier when commissioned to do a 400-word puff piece on the phenomenally popular 'Mr Rogers', who charms kids by the millions with his inter-relating puppets and homespun philosophy.

Rhys has just got into a post-wedding spat with his long-hated father (Cooper), when he's handed the unwanted assignment. But, gradually, like a patient angler, Rogers reels him in.

Hanks, donning the famous red cardigan, tries hard to capture Mr Rogers' gentle sincerity, but comes over as faintly unctuous and even borderline creepy on occasion. It's a very actorly interpretation and you can see the wires moving almost as clearly as the ones in the TV personality's puppets.

For an enthralling portrait of this multi-faceted man, rent or buy the original DVD instead.

David Quinlan

USA 2019. UK Distributor: Sony (Tri-Star). Colour by deluxe.
109 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 25 Jan 2020