I have been thinking about A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood a lot since I saw it in the theater. I firmly believe this is one of the most important movies that has been made in my lifetime. If you didn’t know it’s a new film starring Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers, the beloved television star that inspired millions of children with a simple greeting: hello neighbor.
It’s okay to have feels
According to Mr. Rogers, the goal of his show is “to give the world positive ways of dealing with their feelings.” Mr. Rogers never says to fight your emotions or that we should not feel a certain way. Instead, he asks us to think about what we do with our feelings.
“What do you do / with the mad that you feel / when you feel so mad / you could bite?” he often sings on his show. He suggests other ways of dealing with one’s feelings than lashing out. However, he never once says that it is wrong to be sad, mad, or angry.
Bitterness is not worth it
Lloyd is angry with his father, Jerry, for most of the movie. He is disrespectful to him and in one of the first scenes, he punches him. We see him spiral because of this anger. His life gets difficult because of how he deals with his anger. It is only when Mr. Rogers helps him let go of his anger and forgive his father that we see him lighten up. He is happier and is kinder to those around him. By forgiving, Lloyd becomes happier and lighter.
There are many ways to say, “I love you”
Over the course of the movie, we see Lloyd grow as a father, a son, a husband, a brother, and a human being. At the beginning of the movie, we see an angry bitter man who cares more about his work than anyone else. By the end of the movie, we see Lloyd loving his family in many ways. The way he grows more caring towards his son is a prime example of that. He seems like a clueless father at the beginning of the movie. By the end, he is one of the most dedicated fathers ever portrayed on screen.
He also takes time off of work, something that is unimaginable for him at the beginning of the movie, to spend time with his dying father. These ways of saying I love you are not spoken, but shown through his actions. We learn that love is more than warm fuzzies; it is an action.
You are not broken
In the film’s most pivotal scene, Mr. Rogers looks Lloyd in the eye and with complete sincerity says, “I don’t think you’re broken.” In that scene and on each episode of his real-life television show, Mr. Rogers teaches us that there is something lovable in all of us. He chose to see the good in others, especially in Lloyd. At the beginning of the film, I thought Lloyd was a jerk. Yet, by watching Mr. Rogers talk to Lloyd throughout the movie, I learned he was hurting, not a jerk. Mr. Rogers sees the good in someone who is hurting. I think we should do the same.