With simple production values, a star with a sweet voice and a closet full of cardigans, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” became an unlikely children’s show sensation. Just thinking about how Fred Rogers tapped into such childlike innocence makes us want to cry.
“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” is a new documentary about “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” and Fred Rogers, and it’s the saddest, most touching thing you’ll watch all day. Morgan Neville’s (“20 Feet From Stardom”) documentary premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and it gets how Rogers connected with children in ways that few other entertainers have been able to.
“I always felt I didn’t need to put on a funny hat or jump through a hoop to have a relationship with a child,” Rogers says in the trailer.
Neville’s documentary explores how Rogers was “radical,” taking on subjects like assassination, divorce and segregation on his show.
“It was the voice I needed to hear because it’s a voice I don’t hear in our culture anymore,” Neville told TheWrap’s Steve Pond at Sundance. “It’s a voice of an empathetic adult who’s not condescending, who’s trusting. It’s all these things I find empty from our media culture, empty from our political culture, and it was really nothing more than that as a notion that there was a bigger story here.”
“It’s an invitation for somebody to be close to you,” Rogers says in the trailer explaining the film’s title and his signature catchphrase. “The greatest thing that we can do is to help somebody know that they’re loved and capable of loving.”
“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” opens from Focus Features on June 8. Watch the trailer above.
97 Sundance Portraits From TheWrap at Acura Studios With Keira Knightley, Robert Pattinson and More (Photos)
Sundance 2018: Hilary Swank, Forest Whitaker and Armie Hammer among the stars shot by photographer Irvin Rivera in Park City
Photographed by Irvin Rivera for TheWrap at the Acura Studios