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Blu-ray Review: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

February 25, 2020

By John Corrado

There are some casting choices that just make sense, and such is the case with Tom Hanks being cast as children’s television show host Fred Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood. It’s only fitting to have one beloved American icon portraying another, and Hanks received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his role in the film, which arrived on Blu-ray last week.

Told from the perspective of a cynical journalist (Matthew Rhys) being hired to interview Mr. Rogers, the film works because it is not a biopic but rather a moving character drama that gets to the essence of the meaningful impact Rogers was able to have upon so many lives. It’s beautifully directed by Marielle Heller, who cleverly structures it like an episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. For more on the film itself, my full review can be found right here.

The Blu-ray also includes a commentary track with Heller and director of photography Jody Lee Lipes, followed by eight deleted and extended scenes (Heroes Must Die, You Just Had a Full Interview, Mr. Rogers’ Archives, A Trip to the Hospital, Are You Still Feeling Agitated?, Did You Know About Me?, I Asked You For Two Paragraphs, and Mitzi), which feature some nicely acted moments, as well as a blooper reel that showcases Hanks as Rogers struggling to get the timing of zipping his cardigan just right during the opening song over and over again.

This is followed by a trio of featurettes. Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers offers an in-depth look at his portrayal, and the choice not to use any prosthetics aside from a subtle wig and fake eyebrows; The People Who Make a Neighborhood: The Making Of offers an illuminating overview of the production, including shooting in the real WQED studios; and lastly Dreaming Big, Building Small: The Puppets & Miniatures provides a fascinating look at how the production team painstakingly recreated the classic sets and puppets from the Neighborhood of Make-Believe for the film.

Finally, the disc includes a short piece entitled Daniel Tiger Explains: Practice Makes Perfect, which expands upon the footage from the blooper reel to offer a lesson in how even grown ups make mistakes sometimes. The package also comes with a regular DVD of the film.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is a Sony Pictures Home Entertainment release. It’s 109 minutes and rated PG.

Street Date: February 18th, 2020

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