Flash Movie Review: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

THERE WAS SOMETHING SAFE, NURTURING and comfortable about growing up in an apartment building. I never felt like I was missing out on anything by not living in a single-family home. My earliest memories contain the assortment of wonderful neighbors who lived in our building. Before I could even walk I learned how to crawl down 2 flights of stairs to one neighbor who always welcomed me into their home and gave me cookies. I know, you must be thinking I was trained like Pavlov’s dog for those cookies; but honestly, I was not. When I grew older no one had to teach me to open doors for people carrying in groceries or packages; all of us in the building did it to help each other. We lived on the top floor so I got to use the landing of the wrap around staircase as my personal playroom. The same could be said for our back porch; I was always outside on it either playing or reading a book. In fact, I had a little table and chairs set out on the porch; so, you could say I had my own personal, outdoor deck.      FROM ONE NEIGHBOR OF OURS I learned important history lessons about war and concentration camps. She was a survivor who shared her story with me whenever I would ask her a question. Her son was one of the musicians in the building. While he would practice playing his accordion, there was another neighbor who played the drums; add that to my piano lessons and we covered a variety of musical genres. I would love coming home and hear the music playing as I walked up the flights of stairs, accompanied by an assortment of cooking smells that wafted through the hallway at various times. There was never a need to worry about running out of something, like a food ingredient or toilet paper, because everyone in the building was willing to borrow from each other. Something that I feel that was truly valuable for me was learning at an early age how to conduct myself in public. Everyone was polite and friendly which was a wonderful example to show me how to interact with people. It was a time before texting so we each had face to face conversations and I learned how to listen. I cannot say that is an attribute that everyone has in them these days. Living in an apartment building was wonderful training on how to deal with people. Everyone worked at finding amicable solutions to any issues that would arise. We were our own special neighborhood inside of our apartment building.      FROM OSCAR WINNING DIRECTOR Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom, The Music of Strangers), this film festival winning documentary showed me a neighborhood that had similarities to my childhood home, but I did not know existed. Debuting on television in Pittsburgh 1967, it soon became a national broadcast. I have never seen the show so my enthusiasm about this film may be more than someone who was familiar with Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. What struck me about Fred Rogers was his gentle kindness and progressive thinking. I was amazed at the quiet way he would make a relevant statement about an event taking place in the world. Learning about the history of the show along with the personal information about his actual and television family, it was quite apparent there was a genuine love and affection for each other. Here you have people from all walks of life who worked together in a civil and respectful way. I must tell you if Fred was alive and wanted to run for office, I would vote for him based on having seen this movie; what a wonderful picture about a beautiful human being.


4 stars


About moviejoltz

From a long line of movie afficionados, one brother was the #1 renter of movies in the country with Blockbuster, I am following in the same traditions that came before me. To balance out the long hours seated in dark movie theaters, I also teach yoga and cycling. For the past 3 years, I have correctly picked the major Oscar winners... so join me as we explore the wonder of movies and search for that perfect 4 star movie.

Posted on June 14, 2018, in Documentary and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. I recently saw a CBS Morning show about the man who played Officer Frank. His full name was Francois, who sang and showed children that if they needed help to call for the police. He said he found out more about good people and cops from Mister Rogers. This touched me how you shared your early childhood lessons. I do feel my grandma felt NY City was full of a variety of people, from languages, foods, clothing and cultures who truly were kind and helped each other out. Thank you for sharing this! 🌞

  2. Having spent most of my life in the UK, I’m not familiar with Mr Rogers. I’d heard the name and not much more. Since living in the US, however, I’ve become aware of how important he was in the history of broadcasting and why he was so meaningful to so many people. I’m, therefore, keen to see this so I can understand more.

  3. I didn’t even know this movie existed! I love Mr. Rogers as a child, and have continued to love him as an adult. I’m so excited to see this movie! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. A lovely post about the practical outcomes of the spirit of Mr Rogers personal outlook.

  5. I really want to see this. My kids loved Mr. Rogers I liked all the things you said about him. He was relevant and soothing.
    I can’t imagine growing up in an apartment building like you describe, but I can see where you might have a sense of community. Your description sounds so ideal. Even though I can’t imagine being that close to anyone and having everyone get along. It sounds wonderful.

    • It really was a special place to grow up. Prior to electronic intrusions, everyone interacted live. Please let me know what you think of this special film. Thanks for the comments.

  6. Mr. Rogers neighborhood was my son’s favorite. I watched many hours of it with him. I think he’d like to see a movie about the person from his favorite childhood show.


  7. My sentiments too, except I grew up in a house. Great review!

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