Jul 6, 2018
My wife has recently re-evaluated me as a liberal hippie. I suppose this happens in relationships. New political issues arise, and married couples disagree from time-to-time. I feel like I have to preface my review of "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" with this caveat. If my wife thinks I'm too progressive, I'm sure that some of my readers out there will agree. But to review the documentary about Fred Rogers, I probably need to frontload this information. Like many documentarians, director Morgan Neville made his movie not only to inform, but to challenge. The issue is that this time, he offers challenges to our faith.
When I saw the trailer on Facebook for the first time, I knew that it was going to tug at some heartstrings. The trailer doesn't spoil anything. You should probably watch it. I recommend just a small handful of tissues before clicking "Play."
Unsurprisingly, the film documents the life of Fred Rogers and his life in children's television. The movie establishes quite clearly that Rogers did not care about the spotlight. He didn't consider himself a celebrity, nor did he create "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" for financial gain. Rather, this man saw a deficit in children's television and wanted to meet the emotional needs of children who ordinarily absorbed television as future consumers.
A sad child himself, Fred Rogers saw television as an opportunity to let kids know that they were loved, regardless of their situations. But what many people may not know is that Mister Rogers was actually Reverend Rogers.