The Filmlosophers, Eddie Villanueva, Chad Riley and Spencer Williams, hop on the Neighborhood Trolley for a trip down memory lane with this week’s review of the feature length documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (2018). Directed by Academy Award winner Morgan Neville, the film chronicles the career of Fred Rogers, creator and star of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood on PBS. Utilizing a collection of archival footage and in-depth interviews with family and friends, Neville weaves a winsome tapestry of the motivation and mission of one of American television’s pioneering voices.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor? offers a heartfelt glimpse of the behind-the-scenes humor, sincerity and passion that went into Rogers’ often-countercultural phenomenon, including insights into his critical view of most entertainment programming. The film takes a candid look at how Mister Rogers Neighborhood tackled heavy subjects and serious psychological topics with curiosity and dignity, and it may come as some surprise to hear that some members of the audience may appreciate having tissues handy.