Marielle Heller‘s “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” premiered at Toronto International Film Festival and it was received with open arms as critics are calling it “brilliant, tender and sweet.” The film stars Tom Hanks, Matthew Rhys, Susan Kelechi Watson and Chris Cooper.
The synopsis reads:
Two-time Oscar®-winner Tom Hanks portrays Mister Rogers in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” a timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism, based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. After a jaded magazine writer (Emmy winner Matthew Rhys) is assigned a profile of Fred Rogers, he overcomes his skepticism, learning about empathy, kindness, and decency from America’s most beloved neighbor.
Heller directs the film, written by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster. Her last film, the Lee Israel biopic “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” was nominated for three Oscars: adapted screenplay, supporting actor for Richard E. Grant and lead actress for Melissa McCarthy. Heller’s debut film was the 2015 dramedy, “The Diary of a Teenage Girl.” This is her third directorial feature.
Tom Hanks won back to back Academy Awards for “Philadelphia” and “Forrest Gump” in the 90s. He was most recently nominated again for “Castaway” in 2001, though many would argue that he has been close many times since. The film’s real star is said to be Matthew Rhys, who won an Emmy last year for the FX series, “The Americans.”
Read the first reactions for “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” out of TIFF via Twitter:
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is so much more @MatthewRhys’s character’s film than Tom Hanks’s. Rhys gives a complex multi layered performance in a film which some may find overly sentimental, but which has unexpected darkness in it too #ABeautifulDayInTheNeighborhood pic.twitter.com/THBHX0FHCb
— lizo mzimba (@lizo_mzimba) September 8, 2019
Marielle Heller’s touch is unmistakable in A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, which is less about Mister Rogers than about the idea of Mister Rogers, male vulnerability, and forgiveness. It’s a tearjerker, yes, but one that sneaks up on you #TIFF19
— Esther Zuckerman (@ezwrites) September 8, 2019
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: Marielle Heller found a very smart way to make a film about Fred Rogers. Tom Hanks does a great job portraying him. And the movie made me think a lot about what it takes to be present for other people. #TIFF19 pic.twitter.com/IxnuWl3G4F
— Rebecca Ford (@Beccamford) September 8, 2019
A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD: I'm leery of stories about famous figures framed by someone else's encounter with them, but in Heller's charming film it makes perfect sense — Tom Hanks' Fred Rogers is very human, but the distance lets him be a little magic as well. #tiff pic.twitter.com/yiQmcV3upQ
— Alison Willmore (@alisonwillmore) September 8, 2019
A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD: Brilliant, emotionally-charged film. Tom Hanks gives a career best performance. Matthew Rhys belongs on the big screen. This film will leave you bubbling inside and longing for Mister Rogers more than ever. Oscars – it’s coming for you!
— marge (@margegram56) September 8, 2019
A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD is equal parts hilarious and sweet. Tom Hanks nails the cadence and compassion of Fred Rogers. And Matthew Rhys is his perfect, pessimistic scene partner #TIFF19
— Joi @ TIFF (@jumpedforjoi) September 8, 2019
So overwhelmed. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is cinematic therapy. The best film of the year. Marielle Heller finds a tender, imaginative (sometimes surrealist) way to fuse her visionary narrative with Fred Rogers’ spirit. Tom Hanks is coming for Oscar No. 3 #TIFF19 #TIFF pic.twitter.com/Zm1Sm6q8eA
— Joey Nolfi @ TIFF (@joeynolfi) September 8, 2019