DIFF Documentary Review: ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor’ And Watch Trailer

by | May 24, 2018 | DIFF, Featured, Movie Reviews, Movies | 0 comments

Review by Jacquelin Hipes

Those in need of an emotional boost will find a rousing one in this documentary about the life and professional legacy of Fred Rogers, best known as the host of the long-running PBS show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. While Rogers passed away in 2003, his wife and children, alongside scores of colleagues and friends, appear to guide viewers through a behind-the-scenes look at the development of a childhood favorite. There are no skeletons falling out of closets here, although it should come as no surprise to learn that a man who spent his life reassuring children of their inherent worth wrestled with doubts and insecurities of his own.

Former co-workers enliven the history with anecdotes that showcase Rogers’ sense of humor. (In one, a crew member who would take pictures of his bottom on random cameras as a prank was presented with a full-size poster of one such candid shot taken with Rogers’ equipment that Christmas.) Neighbor never delves too deeply, once or twice to its detriment; for example, the thought that his mindset transitioned from that of Daniel the Tiger to King Friday XIII in his later years is voiced, but never explored. As a tribute to a remarkable man and the heartwarming legacy he left behind, though, director Morgan Neville has provided a soothing tonic for troubled times.