Won’t You Be My Neighbor takes an intimate look at America’s favorite neighbor: Mister Fred Rogers. A portrait of a man whom we all think we know, this emotional and moving film takes us beyond the zip-up cardigans and the land of make-believe, and into the heart of a creative genius who inspired generations of children with compassion and limitless imagination.
“Fred Rogers was about to enter the seminary when he turned on his first TV and saw a man get hit with a pie. He was aghast. How could he preach love and kindness when preschoolers were absorbing junk violence? So he changed career, trading a priest’s collar for a hand-knitted cardigan, and attempted to change the world. Morgan Neville’s Won’t You Be My Neighbor? follows how Rogers spent three decades hosting PBS’s “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” answering kids’ questions that other entertainers wouldn’t, including week-long episodes on death and divorce. Introducing the film at Sundance, Neville described his cheery documentary as therapy, only now for adults. At the first glimpse of the retro red trolley, a grown man in the audience moaned in joy. Yet, Neville’s fantastic archival footage reveals the man through his work — or at least, it reveals his philosophies, if not the childhood memories that gave Rogers the ability to understand a four-year-old’s brain, almost as if he still carried his in his cardigan pocket” —Variety. PG-13. 94 Min.