REVIEW: ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor’ is the documentary of the year

Wont You Be My Neighbor

Won’t You Be My Neighbor

Alex Novak

‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor’ is without question the documentary of the year, and it accomplishes that with a solid presentation and lovely play off of the style of the life and show of Fred Rogers.

“The greatest thing that we can do is to help somebody know that they’re loved and capable of loving,” coined Mr. Rogers, a truly incredible man in what he spoke and acted on throughout his inspiring life.

“If you take all of the elements that make good television and do the exact opposite, you have ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.’ Low production values, simple set, an unlikely star. Yet, it worked,” said Margaret Whitmer, a producer and assistant director for the show.

He loved using time to his advantage, slowing down the pace, and the noise too that was growing popular with other children’s shows at the time of his rise. Silence was his friend as it allowed time to consider and think, for both himself and the viewer.

Additionally, it explored in-depth how he used his puppet characters of Daniel and King Friday to communicate both his feelings of pressure and doubt, as well as his mission to teach and perhaps convince people to love others unconditionally.

“‘Won’t you be my neighbor?’ Well, I suppose it’s an invitation. It’s an invitation for somebody to be close to you,” the beloved man famously stated in one of the archive footage from his shows and interviews used in the documentary.

Whether you agree with someone else or not, loving them just the same is the mark of not just tolerating them, but caring about them and what they will choose to become.

As a result he often dealt with rumors that he was not as he presented himself on the screen in his real life. Questions of his past, sexual orientation, and the way he seemed to tolerate everyone even when they may have been deemed intolerable.

He brought a revolution of radical love, optimism and positivity, and offered advice and teaching of how to live life to the full by loving each person one meets, caring about those people and wanting the best for them — to be the best version of yourself.

With an in-depth look at his influence on people and history, his mission was to provide a medium that would showcase a love for life and people. Turning the make believe world his shows were set in to reality was his also his goal.

His favorite number was 143. The word I is one letter, Love is four, and You is three: I love you. He was a true gift to society and an incredible man in the life he lived. This documentary shows just that.

Alex Novak is an entertainment reviewer. Contact him at [email protected].