A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood (2019)

Marielle Heller directs Matthew Rhys, Tom Hanks and Susan Kelechi Watson in this true-ish story drama where a cynical journalist interviews “the nicest man in America.”

A strange little story, awkwardly paced. Quirky yet in an unambitious way. The establishing shots match the toy town world of Mister Rogers, reality and text blur like Charlie Kaufman Lite. Casting Hanks as a beloved children’s entertainer gives off a weird paradox to us outsiders. Surely Forrest Gump is America’s nicest man?! Hanks playing a quiet, reality avoiding fantasist actually comes across as a little sinister. The face make-up is a little too smooth and rubbery. The silent ducking of questions and intrusion into Matthew Rhys’ fraught private life feels like the set-up for a thriller. It all tumbles together into something warmer and saccharine but it isn’t the Oscar contender in tone or quality it needs to be.


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