A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood review roundup: Tom Hanks charms as Fred Rogers and is 'coming for Oscar No. 3'

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is a biographical drama on the beloved television icon Fred Rogers and is based on an Esquire article 'Can You Say...Hero?' by Tom Junod.

FP Staff September 09, 2019 12:40:22 IST
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood review roundup: Tom Hanks charms as Fred Rogers and is 'coming for Oscar No. 3'

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, starring Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers (the host of Mister Rogers Neighborhood), premiered on Saturday night at the Toronto International Film Festival. A biographical drama on the beloved television icon, the film is based on an Esquire article 'Can You Say...Hero?' by Tom Junod.

Matthew Rhys plays Lloyd Vogel, an award-winning, cynical journalist, who is tasked to pen a profile of the long-running television host Rogers (Hanks) for Esquire magazine. Although Vogel accepts the assignment begrudgingly, he begins warming up to Rogers' kindness and amiable personality.

At the premiere, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood left everyone teary-eyed with Hanks delivering a nuanced and layered performance that goes well beyond the cardigan.

“We never make fun of Fred. We slow down to listen to him,” Hanks said following the film’s screening. “It was always going to be, I think, deconstructing the myth of it to show he was a regular guy who went out for Chinese food. At the same time, there is this mystery. What’s his motivation?” he adds.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood review roundup Tom Hanks charms as Fred Rogers and is coming for Oscar No 3

Toma hanks (left) and Fred Rogers (right). Image from Facebook

Read some of the reviews here.

Eric Kohn of IndieWire writes, 'Hanks’ cuddly pedigree means he was born to play Rogers, and he immerses himself in the role of the happy-go-lucky charmer who takes a photo of everyone he meets and embraces his appeal alongside his fans, even singing his theme song along with them on a New York subway. (This saccharine moment may feel contrived, but Junod does include it in his story.) “Beautiful Day” relies a bit too much on Rogers’ built-in appeal, but it exhibits a real confidence about the rationale for staying within those bounds. And for all the schmaltziness, the movie has plenty of compelling reminders about the talent behind the camera; it’s less of a tribute to Rogers’ cheery ethos than a subtle exploration of his lasting appeal.'

The Hollywood Reporter was all praise for Hanks' performance. However, he expected a better script, saying: "After her fantastic first two features, The Diary of a Teenage Girl and Can You Ever Forgive Me?, it’s a bit disappointing to see Marielle Heller taking on material with no edge at all. But the prospect of working with Hanks was understandably too great an opportunity to pass up, and she’s done a perfectly reasonable job under the circumstances. Visually, however, the film could have been sharper, with more color and luster."

Benjamin Lee from The Guardian calls Hanks a charmer and says, "As we enter another turgid biopic season, it’s always a pleasure to encounter one that chooses to opt out of the traditional formula. Technically, this isn’t really a biopic at all since Rogers isn’t the true protagonist and the film only focuses on a brief, half-fabricated period of time, leaving much of his life unexplored. It’s more of a father-son story featuring an unlikely added element, a man who can’t resist inserting himself into the lives of others – especially those in need of help. Once you get past the loose handling of the truth, there’s a warm hug waiting for you in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, and one that arrives with far less sentimentality than expected."

Owen Gleiberman in Variety terms Hanks' performance as 'transporting' and writes, "In A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Hanks isn’t just good — he’s transporting. He takes on Mister Rogers’ legendary mannerisms and owns them, using them as a conduit to Rogers’ disarming inner spirit. He makes you believe in this too-nice-for-words man who is all about believing. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is a soft-hearted fable that works on you in an enchanting way. When the film comes out (at Thanksgiving), there won’t be a dry eye in the megaplexes of America."

Check out some other reactions

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is scheduled to release on 27 September.

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