Won’t You Be My Neighbor is a documentary surrounding the life of Fred Rogers and the creation of the children’s television Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
First off, make sure to bring some tissues. Mister Rogers was never a big part of my childhood, though I did watch his show sometimes. But what a positive force this man was for the world. He knew how important it is to tell a kid they are special and liked exactly for who they are. And he knew how important it is to love and always tried to spread his love.
The documentary interviews people from Fred Rogers’ life like his family, friends, producers, actors, and other people on the show. And it was reassuring to know that Mister Rogers was pretty much exactly like he seemed – caring, compassionate, and understanding.
Something I liked seeing was that Fred Rogers had doubts about his impact, and while he loved his show, it did take a large toll on him (I mean he did do the show for over 30 years). It showed that he grew frustrated when he was not taken seriously because he didn’t embody the “typical” man because he wore sweaters and was more in touch with emotion. So, it was just nice knowing that Mister Rogers was doubtful and conflicted, not cheerful all the time as it seemed on TV, it made him more well-rounded and relatable.
Mister Rogers Neighborhood was a deep show, way deeper than I realized as a kid. There are episodes talking about death and divorce. He brought in François Clemmons to play a police officer when he found out African Americans were being kicked out of pools with chemicals though segregation was now over. He always tackled these issues with sensitivity and tried to make it easily understandable. He also was one of the most tolerable man during his time, I think my only issue was he was not tolerable fast enough in one instance.
Overall, Won’t You Be My Neighbor is a documentary I think everyone should watch. It will definitely pull at your heartstrings and make you realize that we may have taken Mister Rogers for granted because we can all learn how to love better from him.
I give this film an A+