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Kindness counts: ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor’ is a soft-spoken portrait of an incredible man

Fred Rogers (left) with Francois Scarborough Clemmons (right) from his show Mr. Rogers Neighborhood in the film, WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?, a Focus Features release. (Photo: John Beale, Focus Features)

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
4 out of 5 Stars
Director:
Morgan Neville
Genre: Documentary
Rated: PG-13 for some thematic elements and language

Synopsis: A look at the life and pursuits of Fred Rogers.

Review: If you had told me that “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,” a documentary about television personality Fred Rogers, would be the most relevant and most needed film of 2018 I might have nodded and humored you. I watched my share of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” growing up, but how interesting or important could a film about him possibly be?

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,” much like the man it is about, is a light in the darkness. A beacon guiding humanity to a better place. A reminder that compassion and love is more fulfilling than winning an argument.

Watching “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” was a cathartic event. There were tears, not the kind that come from sadness, but the kind that come from rediscovering something you love that you had forgotten existed. It was like seeing an old friend and reveling in all the wonderful days spent together.

My parents taught me some wonderful lessons and Mr. Rogers expanded upon them. Rogers showed kindness in action and improved the lives that came within his reach.

But Mr. Rogers was a myth, right? No one could possibly be that kind without harboring a few skeletons in the closet.

You’ll have to see “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” to find out.

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