Last Wednesday night, January 9, Michael Shannon and David Cross hosted a special screening of the documentary film, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? followed by a reception at neighboring restaurant Locanda Verde.
Directed by Morgan Neville, the film explores the life and philosophy of Fred Rogers, the infamous host, and creator of the well-known children’s show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Interestingly enough, the trailer for the film was released on what would have been Roger’s 90thbirthday, March 20, 2018.
After the film was released to the masses in the United States on June 8, 2018, critics could not stop raving about it. It was nominated for many awards, including the Independent Spirit Award and Satellite Awards for Best Documentary Feature and was chosen by Time Magazine as one of the top ten films of 2018.
The documentary is thoughtful and fascinating, going into depth about not only Fred Roger’s himself, but the psychology that went into each episode. Tackling complicated messages such as war, death, race, divorce, etc. to explain to children, Fred Roger’s was nothing short of radical for his time. The film begins with a scene of Mr. Rogers himself playing at his piano and then stops when he sees the camera, giving a sense of intimacy with the audience, and then launching into a sort of endearing rant about the difficulties of communication.
Fred Rogers received a lot of criticism for his TV show and the topics he discussed. Director Morgan Neville explains in an interview with the Desert Sun Rogers’ most fundamental message, “I think people fundamentally misread what he was saying, to just basically say because he told kids you are special, therefore we have an entire generation of Millenial snowflakes. I feel like what he was really saying is, you’re not worthless. I think it was much more about trying to tell children who maybe felt that nobody told them they were worth anything that they were worthy of being loved, which is something he talked a lot about.” Be sure to bring tissues for this well-acclaimed documentary about a man who preached love and acceptance for all.
When the lights came on, the audience then adjourned next door to Laconda Verde for a reception with food, drinks, and celebrity appearances. A toast was made by one of the producers thanking the hosts of the evening, David Cross and Michael Shannon. A fantastic evening to celebrate a fantastic film. Be sure to bring tissues for this well-acclaimed documentary about a man who preached love and acceptance for all.