Can you hear the Twitterverse collectively sighing with delight? That’s because Tom Hanks and Mister Rogers are trending.
The trailer for Sony Pictures’ “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” a film about Fred Rogers, one of the country’s most beloved entertainment icons and host of the long-running children’s TV series, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” debuted Monday. Rogers is played by Hanks, a two-time Academy Award winner who holds a similarly warm place in the hearts of many moviegoers.
The trailer’s opening moments are a gentle blend of rosy nostalgia and goodwill. Piano keys, swelling melodies – the two-and-a-half-minute trailer is a parade of hugs and smiles, punctuated by a line that Hanks delivers as Rogers: “We are trying to give the world positive ways of dealing with their feelings.”
Fans rushed to places not often associated with dealing positively with feelings: online comments sections. Their consensus? This is the purest, most perfect thing ever. Give it all the Oscars now.
The purity of it may be part of the delight. Biopics often provide not only a narrative of a famous person’s life but insight into their flaws. “The Wolf of Wall Street” showed Jordan Belfort’s drug-addled descent into hedonism and greed. “The Social Network” and “Steve Jobs” highlighted not just the brilliant minds of a pair of tech titans but also their social ineptitude, jealousy and aggression. “Vice” focused on former vice president Dick Cheney’s cunning and ruthlessness, and the damage it caused.
“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” seems to belong to a different category: It’s a feel-good biopic about a feel-good character. There is no scheming antihero, no overwhelming societal obstacle. Instead, there is Fred Rogers, the cardigan-wearing advocate for childhood education.
Hanks is an appropriate choice for the title role, having been named America’s favorite film star by the Harris Poll five times (2002, 2004, 2005, 2013, and 2016). It’s a match made in heaven: one highly popular American icon playing another. The film will come out around Thanksgiving. The stars are aligned for maximum wholesomeness.en in a film that is supposedly about him, Mister Rogers plays the role of helper, guide, beacon of goodness.t
Maybe that explains the reaction online to the “Neighborhood” trailer: the absence of dread. “Please don’t ruin my childhood,” Vogel’s wife asks the journalist as he sets out to tell the real story of Fred Rogers. A lot of people might ask the same of a biopic, and by all indications they have nothing to fear.