Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Is a documentary about Mr. Rogers – a television pioneer in children’s programming. Wow. Take tissues. And I am giving this an Academy Award now. So well done. The research, film clips, and overall manner of this film is classy.
Fred Rogers, an ordained pastor, finds a need back in the early 1960s for appropriate children’s television programming. He did not like slap stick or signs of violence. He advocated a peaceful learning situation and his neighborhood was filled with diversity and a chance to address kids. His show grew from a PBS station in Pittsburgh PA to a monster show. He actually listened to kids. He respected kids. He showed the use of silence…it can be useful to draw out folks. His neighborhood had the black policeman stop by and cool off his feet in Mr. Rogers small pool. This subtly addressed the issue at the time of segregation and “white’s only” pools. He truly brought issues to the forefront without bashing folks or kids over the head. Mr. Rogers truly exemplified Christian principles.
Speakers in the film include his wife (a no-nonsense very likeable woman), his two sons, his film crew, and other family friends. The outpouring of love and respect shine through. Fred Rogers, the man on the TV screen, was the same man at home and in real life. He truly loved people, respected people, and just lived as he learned as a preacher – a dorky clean life. He was a reluctant hero of sorts, with a vision. It was easy to make fun of him, and yet this documentary shows the value of his work today. If only…..people would show respect to each other, think before speaking (or tweeting!!!)
Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Is very worthy. I recommend it highly. Ninety minutes of quality film-making. Watch, think, and take pause…a silent moment to reflect….on a very Christian message (and I use this terminology in the positive way it should evoke a sensibility. ) Enjoy