By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Therese Gardner
Children’s television has become something of a mass produced ploy to sell products to its very young audiences. They don’t really convey a message. But, children’s television used to be something more. In the new heartfelt documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, we discover the impact of one television program and it’s unlikely star.
If you know the tune, then you know the show. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is about the Dalai Lama of television, Fred Rogers, and his educational show Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.
Many know that Rogers was a good man as he was an ordained minister, worked closely with professionals to understand child psychology, and convinced Senator Pastore to continue funding for public television. But, what many do not know is that he cared deeply and fondly about the children who viewed his show and the world they were growing up in.
He loved children which is shown through clips of interviews where he describes how his passion for spreading kindness became his life long mission. He made sure that children knew how special they were and that they were loved.
In the film, audiences not only find out the story of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood but, also who Mr. Rogers was. We quickly learn that the soft spoken and happy man dealt with his own internal struggles and dealt with them through music and a little stuffed tiger named, Daniel.
He was constantly criticized for being open-minded and kind. It seemed impossible for someone like Rogers to exist but, he proved that being compassionate isn’t always hard to do. He was understanding of others feelings and not only listened but cared what people had to say. Which is what made the show so successful in touching the hearts of so many.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is just as beautiful as the soul of its subject and will bring people to tears just listening to the beloved Mr. Rogers sing the tune that used to brighten our days and capture our hearts.
My Rating: 97%