I can count on one hand the number of documentaries I’ve seen in a theater, and still have some fingers left over. This one is special. I’m gonna start this post with a link to my Stardust reaction filmed on my way out of the theater. I was a mess. So many feels. So so many. Most of the comments I was getting on the reaction from friends on the app were about how just the trailer got them crying. If you’re gonna see this movie (and you absolutely should) then bring tissues.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor is a documentary about Fred Rogers (please tell me I don’t need to explain who he is? If I do, this world is already lost.) It’s less about his life and more about his career and the philosophy of kindness he spread through his work and his life. It’s absolutely beautiful.
The film revisited stories I’d heard and taught me far more than I didn’t know. Mostly, I was in awe. In awe of this beautiful man and the beautiful work that he did, but also in awe of how rare he was. Why hasn’t there been a spiritual successor to Mr Rogers on tv? Why don’t we have someone validating our needs and feelings and teaching us the true value of our self worth? I rewatched some episodes of his show a couple months ago, and my main takeaway was that this world would be such a better place if we spent a little time in the Neighborhood every day.
Getting onto the more technical aspects of this as a film, one thing I’d like to point out that I thought was clever was the way that montages of children’s programming were used to highlight the passage of time. Each era of his career was prefaced with a brief clip of the television world he was counter programming. It was so effective in showing the contrast of his style as well as framing the setting. The editing in general was great. Bear in mind, I’m still learning about that art, but the clips of the show and old interviews and new interviews were seamlessly interwoven to tell the story
If I were to get picky about this film, my one criticism is that there were a lot of thoughts (especially towards the end) that were introduced and explored for only a few minutes and then dismissed. I would have liked to dive into these things more or just left them out. But really, I can’t complain. This film was so moving and has left me with such a good feeling to know I’m alive, and such a happy feeling I’m growing inside. I woke up ready to say I think I’ll make a snappy today.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/