After half of a century on television sharing countless teachings of love and kindness, Fred Rogers remains a cultural icon and the personification of nostalgia. Among the list of his many identities as a husband, father, educator, minister, and musician, also lies innovator. “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” redefined children’s programming by unabashedly addressing social issues like equity, race relations, disability, divorce, and mental health using puppetry and songs to translate powerful messages that remain relevant to people of all ages. Oscar®-winning director Morgan Neville’s documentary reflects Rogers’ unyielding purity and imagination, and through archival footage paints a more complete portrait than the public has ever seen on their television screens. Teased as a child for his weight, Rogers became a man with zero tolerance for cruelty of any kind, and gained a shameless confidence that was perpetuated through being transparent and unapologetic about his flaws. His famous tenet that everyone should be loved and respected for their authentic selves is the center of Neville’s film, as audiences are made to truly question if they are fulfilling the admirable vision of the American legend and being the best neighbor they can be.
There will also be a party
on Saturday night after the screening.