>> I grew up without cable television. I often felt out of the loop when my classmates made references towards Rugrats and Spongebob. As a kid, I was frustrated with the select stations we had. Although today, I’m glad that I grew up with PBS. I still find comfort in shows like Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood and Arthur. I told my mom about Won’t You Be My Neighbor, hoping we could share the experience together. My mother grew up watching PBS in the late sixties and seventies. While television shows come and go, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood was always a staple in the PBS lineup. It only seemed right to see the film together at our local independent theatre which is supported by our local PBS station.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor is a strong documentary that covers the span of Fred Rogers’ life and his intent of creating the show Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. The film is constructed around an abundance of found footage and paired with interviews from his family and colleagues. It’s upbeat and inspirational and succeeds with illustrating just how selfless Fred Rogers truly was.
As a child, I remember being scared of the world; especially after events like 9/11. Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood created a safe place, a place where I felt welcomed and relaxed despite everything that confused me in the world. Won’t You Be My Neighbor welcomes us back to that space during this time when some of us need it most—allowing ourselves to take off our jackets and pull on a nice warm sweater.
While my love for PBS may make my opinion a bit biased, Won’t You Be My Neighbor is something everyone should experience. Not only does it illustrate Fred Rogers life so flawlessly, but allows us to question how we want ourselves to be remembered. As the film concluded, there was an overwhelming amount of sniffles from the crowd. I turned to mom while aggressively trying to wipe all the tears from my cheeks. “That was really incredible,” she said. 9/10 <<