Showing: 31 January 2020 until 06 February 2020
Director Marielle Heller (Can You Ever Forgive Me?) and star Tom Hanks offer the perfect antidote for uneasy times, in a film destined to capture even the most world-weary heart.
It’s hard to overstate the impact Fred Rogers had on American culture. For three decades, he enchanted generations of children with his television show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Gently paced, the show was a safe haven, where Rogers entertained but also tackled problems that his young viewers might have to face as they grew up; his motto was, ‘If you can mention it, you can manage it’. An excellent Matthew Rhys, playing magazine writer Lloyd Vogel (based on journalist Tom Junod) is commissioned to write an article on the presenter. He regards Rogers as a monolith of an unfashionable past – a relic whose style and ideas are outdated. He is also deeply suspicious: ‘Could anyone really be so good, so kind?’ But on spending more time with Rogers, Vogel begins to question his own misanthropic outlook.
As a Hollywood star admired for his integrity (he’s Toy Story’s Woody, after all) Tom Hanks is perfect as Rogers. A clever script from Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster (series writers on Transparent) and ingenious direction from Heller also ensure that you don’t need to know who Rogers was for this film to work its magic. With her third feature, after the superb The Diary of a Teenage Girl and Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Marielle Heller has delivered her best yet.
- Tricia Tuttle, BFI London Film Festival