Mr. Rogers Gives Reasons to be Thankful

“I often hear people say that they wish Fred [Mister Rogers] were still around to offer his guidance and also that they are thankful he is gone because at least he has been spared from seeing what we have become.” - Tom Junod, a friend of Mister Rogers

Sony Pictures

Gina Belocio, Artist

Fred Rogers created and starred in the influential children’s show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, that aired from 1968 to 2001 as a beacon of kindness to entire generations. With the innocent nature of the show, it’s easy to forget that it debuted in an era of political and cultural chaos.

It was for this reason that the show became so impactful to the American people. Rogers’ kind, calm, and soft-spoken neighborly persona was revolutionary and has continued to be impactful, even almost 20 years after the show ended.

Rogers, an ordained Presbyterian minister, taught everyone, but mostly children, to be kind and understanding to all those around them. He recognized how impressionable youth can be, and provided them with valuable lessons of sensitivity and respect regarding important issues such as racism, divorce, death, disabilities and more. 

But, it seems like the world is entering a dark age once again. All around, people are at each other’s throats regarding political affiliations and world views;  the continual expansion of discrimination in all aspects, the ethical dilemma of “canceling” without providing a chance for growth, or even the simple distrusting of the average person. The world has seemed to lose neighborly values, continuously preparing for a war with one another.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is a heartwarming film about Mister Rogers’ friendship with journalist Tom Junod and star Tom Hanks and Matthew Rhys respectively. 

Rather than simply tell the story of Mister Rogers’ life, the film examines the impact that he had on Junod and consequently the rest of the world. Junod had come to him in a state of mental disarray. With Rogers’ kind words and affirmations, he was able to overcome his troubles and grow past them, growing their lifelong friendship.  

Mike Ryan, a reviewer from UPROXX, describes the movie as “a two-hour therapy session about the relationships we have with our parents and learning to cope with death.”

A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood will be released tomorrow, November 22nd.