Tuesday, March 27, 2018

"Won't You Be My Neighbor?"

I am looking forward to this biographical film of Fred Rogers, otherwise know to millions of children (who are now adults) as Mr. Rogers. Just this trailer alone brought me to tears. I grew up watching him on his television show, "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" (I would come home and lay down on the sofa with my mom to watch Mr. Rogers and all the puppets in The Land of Make Believe) and it brought back to me a sense of calmness and earnestness which is sorely lacking in the world today. There are no leaders we--adults or children--can look up to, to trust, to know that they will work for the betterment fof our species.

The trailer mentions his powerful messages for not only children, but for adults as well. But the thing that I admire the most about Fred Rogers was the fact that I learned much later in life that he was an ordained Presbyterian minister. Never once can I recall him speaking of God or Jesus or promoting a religious agenda. He embodied a kind of secular morality and secular humanism that can exist outside of man-made religions who do not have a copyright or monopoly on things like kindness, decency, bravery, friendliness, or love. These are qualities that have nothing to do with and do not depend on a God or a religious figure. And for that, he has my eternal admiration.

The film's website says:
"For over thirty years, Fred Rogers, an unassuming minister, puppeteer, writer and producer was beamed daily into homes across America. In his beloved television program, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Fred and his cast of puppets and friends spoke directly to young children about some of life’s weightiest issues, in a simple, direct fashion. There hadn’t been anything like Mr. Rogers on television before and there hasn’t been since.

Though he may be best known today as a soft-spoken, cardigan-wearing children’s television host, in reality, Fred Rogers’ career represents a sustained attempt to present a coherent, beneficent view about how we should best speak to children about important matters and how television could be used as a positive force in our society.

In Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (Twenty Feet from Stardom) looks back on the legacy of Fred Rogers, focusing on his radically kind ideas. While the nation changed around him, Fred Rogers stood firm in his beliefs about the importance of protecting childhood. Neville pays tribute to this legacy with the latest in his series of highly engaging, moving documentary portraits of essential American artists."

The film is set for a June 8, 2018 release.


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