Synopsis: Selected by "Conscious Movie Reviews," "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" is a biopic drama, based on the life of Fred Rogers of the children's television show, "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood." When investigative reporter Lloyd Vogel was assigned to write a short article on Fred Rogers to feature him as an American hero, he had a cynical perspective about him. His views changed for the better when he learned valuable life lessons from Mr. Rogers about forgiveness that helped to repair the estranged relationship Lloyd had toward his dying father, Jerry Vogel.
Warning: Spoilers within the Presentation
Welcome to "Conscious Movie Reviews." I'm your host Joy Davis and here to review the biopic drama, "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood."
On the set of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" that is a popular, children's TV program, Fred Rogers arrives at home with a xylophone playing in the background as he puts on his red sweater and blue sneakers to get comfortable. He presents a panel of doors that reveal familiar faces of the neighborhood, except for the bruised one of Lloyd Vogel. This was a cue to impart a lesson about forgiveness.
Designed by Fred, the made-for-TV scenes of a neighborhood was an extension of his welcoming nature. His choice of xylophone tunes is reminiscent of carefree, child-like energy. And by wearing a red sweater, it highlighted Fred's intent of providing warmth and comfort that's from his heart.
At a family wedding, Lloyd was uncomfortable seeing his father, Jerry, after years of estrangement between them. Jerry's sin was cheating on his dying wife long ago, then abandoning his two children to deal with her death on their own. Lloyd punched his father out of anger, after asking him not to talk about his mother anymore.
Assigned to write a 400-word article on Fred Rogers as a hero for "Esquire" magazine, Lloyd Vogel was resistant to the idea - reducing him to a "hokey kids guy who plays with puppets for a living."
Upon meeting Mr. Rogers at the WQED studio in Pittsburgh, he found him disarmingly nice, courteous and very present. He was allowed only 20 minutes for the interview. Fred explained to him that his show provides children with positive ways to deal with their feelings. He doesn't see himself as a hero.
When Fred showed genuine concern about Lloyd's nose injury, he dismissed it as just a fight with his father.
At home, Lloyd described Mr. Rogers as complex to his wife. "I don't know if he's for real," he added.
Spiritually, we all came into this world knowing love, but received it conditionally from others. So when wholesomeness shows up that Fred represents, we can be wary and uncomfortable from feeling undeserving of genuine warmth and caring.
Aware that Lloyd is a jaded writer, Fred chose to be interviewed by him anyway. He understood Lloyd's intellectual cynicism as just a guard, used by his wounded, inner child. Getting him to restore his innocence and child-like trust was the challenge he accepted.
Taking up Mr. Rogers' offer to spend the day with him in New York, Lloyd was able to meet his wife, Joanne. She called Fred a "living saint" with a temper at times, but does things to ground himself.
Mr. Rogers is attractive to many because he was a living example of the Divine Masculine that's the complete opposite of patriarchal, ego-based controlling energy that has ruled for ages.
Those who embody the Divine Masculine energies are intuitive; sensitive to the needs of others; focused on connection and engagement; leads from a place of love; vulnerable; draws upon their inner power from knowing their true self; logical; helps many feel secure by being fully present for them when they're in need; grounded; and protective.
At a private concert, women performed an instrumental version of Rogers' "You are Special." And on the subway ride, fans sang the show's theme song with love.
The interview resumed at Fred's apartment. Lloyd called him brave for having to listen to people's problems, then asked Mr. Rogers if he talks to someone about the burden he carries. Out came his puppet friends, King Friday XIII and Daniel, the Tiger.
Adept at ministering to others, Fred prefers Soul-to-Soul communication by listening carefully to address the wounded, innner child that wants to be acknowledged in a gentle and affirming way. We all want to be loved, just the way we are.
According to Joanne Rogers, Daniel the Tiger and her husband are the same in character. By coming out of a clock with no hands in the Land of Make Believe, it symbolizes the timeless truths shared by them that are guiding, life principles.
Lloyd felt safe enough to mention that he lost his mother at a young age and that his favorite stuffed animal is an old rabbitt. But when Fred inquired if he worked out the disagreement with his father, Lloyd walked out.
Trying to make amends with his son, Jerry suffered a heart attack. He was rushed to the hospital. Lloyd was there for him, but only briefly. Hospitals stressed him out from memories of his mother dying in one, so he left the scene, leaving his wife and newborn baby behind. He insisted on finishing his assignment in Pittsburgh as an excuse.
Emotionally exhausted when he showed up at the TV studio, Lloyd fell asleep on the floor to dream of being in the Land of Make Believe. He embodied the old, stuffed rabbit and his wife, Andrea, played the role of Lady Aberlin. Mr. Rogers encouraged him to talk about what has made him angry. The scene changed for Lloyd to be with his mother in the hospital. She asked him to let go of his anger. He doesn't need to feel that way for her anymore.
The dream symbolized Lloyd's need to return to his child-like nature for his maturity. By dropping the anger, he can stop punishing himself.
Fred took Lloyd home with him to recover. He woke up to piano playing by the Rogers. He liked to make music as a way of grounding himself to express his full range of emotions in a meditative way and have self-mastery over them.
At a Chinese restaurant, Mr. Rogers listened to Lloyd put himself down for being broken. Fred assured him that he's not broken, but a man of conviction who knows right from wrong. Lloyd's relationship with his father helped him to become what he is now.
By following Fred's exercise, he took a moment of silence to thank all the people who loved him into being. When he was done, Lloyd let out a sigh and some sniffles for emotional release.
Any act of forgiveness that's done sincerely can break the bond of stagnant energy that has tied you to another person. Its release can be sensed by both on some sort of Soul level. This is according to Connie Domino, author of "The Law of Forgiveness."
In the end, Lloyd recommitted to his wife, promising that he'd be more available and forgave his father to care for him in his last days.
Mr. Rogers dropped by Lloyd's home, suprising his whole family. He offered a pie out of gratitude for writing a good article. Before leaving, Fred whispered in Jerry's ear to pray for him, knowing that those who are about to die are closer to God.