A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood.
The movie, by the above title, is based loosely on the relationship between Fred Rogers and an Esquire reporter named Tom Junod who was sent in 1998 to interview him.
However, he loved watching Mister Rogers on television.
A foundation designed to help disabled children brought Fred Rogers to meet him.
They talked, then Mister Rogers said, “I would like you to do something for me. Would you do something for me?” The boy said he would.
Mister Rogers then said, “I would like you to pray for me. Will you pray for me?” He later explained to Junod: “I asked him because I think that anyone who has gone through challenges like that must be very close to God.”
According to Junod, “Ever since then [the boy] keeps Mister Rogers in his prayers and doesn’t talk about wanting to die anymore, because he figures Mister Rogers is close to God, and if Mister Rogers likes him, that must mean God likes him, too.”
His singular focus was on helping children understand their intrinsic sacred value. He looked into the camera and imagined a single child to whom he was speaking. He did all he could to help that child face the challenges of our broken world, discussing such difficult subjects as death, divorce, and war.
In such a fractured time, a New Yorker review lauds the film’s “dramatization of an unabated sense of responsibility to do whatever one can to help put things aright” and calls it “a work of intimate and tragic politics, of unsought heroism that’s cursed with the very fact of its necessity.”
Fred Rogers made the same point rather more simply.
Doctor Jim Denison, November 25, 2019