Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Year: 2018

Synopsis: The life and legacy of Fred Rogers is examined in this documentary.

Pros:
• A strong and direct discussion of perhaps one of the nicest, most genuine humans to live.
• The animations with Daniel Tiger were well integrated into the discussion and heartfelt.
• Highlighted how Mr. Rogers used his own experiences, imperfections, doubts, and personal uniqueness to connect with not only children, but also the hardest of adults.
• Reminded us how the man unwittingly came to represent goodness and hope in the worst of times, as he could create the hard catharsis we sometimes all desperately need.

Cons:
• Those who have made up their minds against him would likely not be convinced otherwise by this documentary.

Discussion:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” — Fred Rogers

Heroes can be complicated, confusing, and disappointing. Yet, Fred McFeely Rogers was a different kind of hero, making him truly special in that way. Instead of being a whole other person in reality, Mr. Rogers was just Mr. Rogers: a deeply caring figure with near infinite empathy and charisma. He was far from perfect, but that was OK. Of course, such a “boring” personal life led to sometimes bizarre myths about him like secretly being some kind of tattooed assassin. He was just a unique human trying to help us understand the world and ourselves.

Watching this documentary made me realize something truly special. I have always looked to and most respected seeing the most true version of people. Growing up in 1990s with Mr. Rogers still on the air certainly instilled or encouraged that trait. Our uniquely true selves can create a positive impact on our world, as long as we always aim to be good to others. It is truly depressing that Mr. Rogers’ message has been garbled by some that think he meant that we do not have to do anything, even though he always encouraged us to contribute our uniqueness to the world. Attacking things that are different is always a detriment. In the end, the world does not need another Fred Rogers to save it, because we already had one. The whole point was that we can all be like him by bringing something new and profound to the world.


Official Website

FredRogers.org

Rotten Tomatoes — 98%

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