About two years ago, Won't You Be My Neighbor moved me so deeply I felt obligated to evangelize about it here, soon after seeing it. Yet, as touching as that earlier documentary about Fred Rogers was, the recently released It's A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood - with Tom Hanks as Rogers - is even richer. And before they begin, I'll beat the cynics to the punch. It's undeniably true no one would - nor is it likely anyone ever will - describe me as stoic. A good Marine I'm not. Overly emotional at times? Guilty as charged.
Still, I challenge anyone with a pulse and even a scintilla of good will to watch this new release and not get choked up at least once. Aside from Hanks - and who else could possibly play this role? - a rock solid script, and the always reliable Chris Cooper in a small supporting role, Matthew Rhys hits it out of the park as a damaged, misanthropic writer unable to resist Rogers's empathy and humanity.
Fred Rogers made the world a better place. He personified grace. Aspiring to emulate his model is a goal I'm proud to call my own. Begin again, Pat.