Won’t You Be My Neighbor? DVD Review

Fascinating Biography 4 Stars

Many think they know the life story of Fred Rogers, the creator of PBS’ Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, but Morgan Neville’s documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Shows a great deal of what went on behind the scenes and dispels many of the urban legends.

Won't You Be My Neighbor? (2018)
Released: 29 Jun 2018
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 94 min
Director: Morgan Neville
Genre: Documentary, Biography
Cast: Joanne Rogers, Betty Aberlin, David Bianculli, McColm Cephas Jr.
Writer(s): N/A
Plot: An exploration of the life, lessons, and legacy of iconic children's television host, Fred Rogers.
IMDB rating: 8.7
MetaScore: 85

Disc Information
Studio: Universal
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 480P/MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English 5.1 DD, English DVS 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Rating: PG-13
Run Time: 1 Hr. 35 Min.
Package Includes: DVD
Case Type: DVD keepcase with slipcover
Disc Type: DVD-9 (dual layer)
Region: 1
Release Date: 09/04/2018
MSRP: $19.99

The Production: 4.5/5

“Through television we have a great chance to show and tell our children that they really matter, even when they’re very little…We have a chance to communicate the fact that childhood lies at the very basis of who people are and who they become.” – Fred Rogers

If you grew up in the 1960s to early 1980s, then you are probably at least somewhat familiar with Fred Rogers and his PBS children’s program Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. It is fairly well-known that Rogers was an ordained Presbyterian minister prior to the debut of his children’s TV show. On vacation from seminary school, Rogers got his first taste of what television was when staying at his parents’ house in Pittsburgh, and pondered to himself as to why the medium was used in the fashion that it was. He envisioned a show that touched the heart of the viewer, particularly pre-school children.

Morgan Neville’s documentary is often fascinating, as cast and crew members, along with family members and other friends discuss the life of Fred Rogers and how he used child psychology on his program through simple hand puppets and cardboard miniature sets to help children cope with what was happening in the world. I had never realized just how deep Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was, dealing with the conflict in Vietnam during its first week on the air, for example. The show also dealt with divorce, death, the assassination of Robert Kennedy, the Space Shuttle disaster, etc. Rogers is also featured in several archival interview segments and home movies. I was truly captivated for the entire 95 minute running time.

Video: 4/5

3D Rating: NA

Universal’s DVD presented the film in 480p resolution and recreates the film’s theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Interview segments are clean, with well-defined colors and very good detail for a standard definition presentation, which works quite well considering the wealth of standard definition video that is used in the film, such as archival interviews and clips from the series. Universal has also released the film on Blu-ray.

Audio: 4/5

Universal’s DVD release contains a solid Dolby Digital 5.1 track that handles the material quite nicely. Since the film comprises of mostly talking heads and other mono sources, the mix tends to be very front heavy with some occasional music bleeding into the surrounds. Dialogue is clear and understandable throughout.

Special Features: 0/5

Other than a few trailers tacked on to the beginning of the disc, there are no special features whatsoever.

Overall: 4/5

Won’t You Be My Neighbor is definitely an early contender for Best Documentary Feature at the next Academy Awards. It is a fascinating story about an incredible and sometimes misunderstood man who truly loved every human being on this planet, especially the children.

https://www.amazon.com/Wont-You-Be-My-Neighbor/dp/B07D591ST1/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1537559635&sr=8-1&keywords=191329052181

Published by

Todd Erwin

editor,member

6 Comments

  1. One of my favorite movies of the year…I left the theater feeling like 1) we need more people like Fred Rogers in the world; 2) I want to be Fred Rogers; and 3) we lost a saint when he passed. Thanks for giving the title more exposure, Todd!

  2. Finally streamed this over the weekend and loved it.

    We do indeed more people like Fred Rogers. You almost wish you could force many Americans, both young and old, to sit and watch this, it's a very powerful film.

    I'll be honest, I felt a few tears come one during several parts of it.

Leave a Reply