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Fred Rogers had a rare ability to connect with people — children, especially — and “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” makes a similar connection.
This documentary is just as warm, loving and magical as its subject. Rogers may well have been too good for this world, and now that he’s gone — he died in 2003 at the age of 74 — the world is unrecognizable as a place where he was once among us.
Through archival interviews, Rogers himself is a voice in the documentary, which was directed with care by Morgan Neville (“20 Feet from Stardom”). Members of Rogers’ family, his TV crew and others who were close to the Pittsburgh native provide context, but Neville has the good sense to stop there and not bog the film down with outside voices who might provide celebrity cache but little insight. Rogers himself valued silence and lived a quiet life, pouring his heart into his show and his work with children. There were no scandals in his life. “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” doesn’t deify Rogers, but it makes a strong argument that as a neighbor, he was one of a kind.— Adam Graham, Detroit News
Fri & Sat September 7 & 8, 2018, 7:30 PM, Muenzinger Auditorium
USA, 2018, in English, Color, 94 min, Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and language • official site
Director: Morgan Neville, Cast: Fred Rogers, François Scarborough Clemmons, Yo-Yo Ma, Joe Negri, Kailyn Davis