A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood – touching tribute to a US TV hero

Tom Hanks is wholesomeness itself in Marielle Heller’s tribute to US children’s TV star Mister Rogers Fred Rogers – beloved in the States for his unfailingly sanguine persona, but largely unknown in the UK – was an American television presenter and the man behind the popular, long-running children’s series Mister Rogers’ Neighbo rhood . This exquisite adaptation of Tom Junod’s 1998 Esquire profile paints a carefully shaded picture from a sceptic’s vantage point. When investigative reporter Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) is assigned a puff piece about one of the nation’s heroes, he takes it upon himself to locate the dark heart of Mr Rogers (Tom Hanks, the epitome of on-screen goodness). There isn’t one. Director Marielle Heller (2015’s The Diary of a Teenage Girl , 2018’s Can You Ever Forgive Me ) cleverly mines comedy from Rogers’s boundless empathy as Vogel tries to probe for weak spots, finding only his own. Through their interaction he is encouraged, gently, to confront his own demons and daddy issues.