Won't You Be My Neighbor? ★★★½

As a kid, I would’ve preferred almost any other daytime TV show over Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood — certainly, The Great Space Coaster, Land of the Lost, Get Smart, Bewitched, Starsky and Hutch, and Sesame Street — but also Gilligan’s Island (even the black and white episodes), The Brady Bunch, Little House on the Prairie, The Little Rascals, The Three Stooges, F Troop, any cartoon, and pretty much anything on Nickelodeon. Hell, I would watch boring-ass Bonanza before those creepy, sniveling sock puppets in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

But as an adult, I grew to understand that Fred Rogers and his ennobling goodness were not to be taken for granted, nor underestimated. And even though I didn’t have any particular affection for the man or the TV show when I was growing up, I still found this movie incredibly moving. The contrast between the world as it is now and the world Fred Rogers imagined and fought for every day of his life is so stark, it’s heartbreaking. Make-believe and compassion have been overwhelmed by fakery and cynicism; literal sock puppets have been replaced on TV by even cheaper human ones. This movie is a wonderful portrait of a singular, inspiring man, but I walked out more depressed than ever.