Film Spotlight: “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

By Creative Media Times

Focus Features

“The greatest thing that we can do is to help somebody know that they’re loved and capable of loving.”

Morgan Neville’s documentary about the life and philosophy of Fred Rogers is a hit with critics and audiences. The film currently holds a near-perfect score of 99% on eview aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, with critical consensus praising the film for taking “a fittingly patient and honest look at the life and legacy of a television pioneer whose work has enriched generations.”

Since opening in limited release on June 8, the film from Focus Features has earned nearly $3 million dollars and is poised to enter the top 10 this weekend, stellar given it is playing in merely 348 theaters and in a film franchise dominated box-office landscape.

TV host, musician, puppeteer, writer, producer and Presbyterian minister, Rogers was the creator and host of the educational preschool television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood began airing in 1968 and ran for 895 episodes until 2001.

The half-hour educational children’s television series featuring Roger’s kind-hearted personality, reached its peak in 1985, with 8% of households watching the show. On March 6, 2018, actor Michael Keaton hosted a fiftieth-anniversary tribute show titled “Mister Rogers: It’s You I Like” which premiered on PBS stations.

“You take all of the elements that make good television, and do the exact opposite—you have “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” yet, it worked,” said producer Margy Whitmer.

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” is currently playing in limited release in U.S. theaters.

Here is the film’s official synopsis:

In Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (Twenty Feet from Stardom) looks back on the legacy of Fred Rogers, focusing on his radically kind ideas. While the nation changed around him, Fred Rogers stood firm in his beliefs about the importance of protecting childhood. Neville pays tribute to this legacy with the latest in his series of highly engaging, moving documentary portraits of essential American artists.