Ronald Epstein

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Ronald Epstein
I think the real strength of this film is that it's not about the life of Fred Rodgers.

I have to give an amazing amount of credit to the writers and producers for thinking out of the box on this one.

They managed to celebrate the life of Mr. Rodgers without doing a biography.
 

titch

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Kevin Oppegaard
Thank you for your review, Todd! This film and story is so American, that it is not getting a Scandinavian release - even the UK's The Guardian's chief critic, Peter Bradshaw, started his review saying," Has anyone in Britain ever heard of Fred Rogers?" - and on his next paragraph, "I had never heard of Rogers before this film". I purchased the 4K UHD based on your review and saw it last night. As someone totally unfamiliar with Fred Rogers, I didn't have the background of warm nostalgia that American audiences have. I didn't read the Esquire cover story when it was originally published, because I had no familiarity with the man; the 10 000 word profile sort of requires that. While watching the movie, I found the three-act arc between the cynical, depressed journalist and Tom Hanks to be very traditional and predictable. I also sat there thinking that this was a very odd release for a 4K UHD - the picture quality is pretty terrible (I think you are rather generous, scoring the picture quality 3.5/5)! It's a Sony release, so I was expecting something really stellar. I even took the disc out a couple of times to compare to the blu-ray. I get that they made the film to be like one of those TV episodes, but it didn't really work as a 4K UHD.

However, today I read The Esquire article

https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/tv/a27134/can-you-say-hero-esq1198/

and afterwards the journalist Tom Junod recounting the film production and his recollections of Mister Rogers

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/12/what-would-mister-rogers-do/600772/

and I have a much deeper appreciation of the story in the film - which had a lot of truth in it. The best and most moving scene in the film: the moment when the kids on the New York subway spot Mr Rogers and start singing his theme tune to him, with adult passengers and cops joining in, actually happened once to Fred Rogers!
 

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