Won't You Be My Neighbor? (film)
|Won't You Be My Neighbor?|
|Directed by||Morgan Neville|
|Music by||Jonathan Kirkscey|
|Distributed by||Focus Features|
|Box office||$22.8 million|
Won't You Be My Neighbor? is a 2018 American documentary film about the life and guiding philosophy of Fred Rogers, the host and creator of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, directed by Morgan Neville. The trailer for the film debuted on what would have been Rogers's 90th birthday, March 20, 2018.
The film premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and was released in the United States on June 8, 2018. It received acclaim from critics and audiences and grossed over $22 million, becoming the top-grossing biographical documentary ever produced and the 12th largest-grossing documentary ever produced.
It was nominated for numerous awards, won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary Feature, and was chosen by Time magazine as one of its top ten films of 2018.
Filmmaker Morgan Neville examines the life and legacy of Fred Rogers, the beloved host of the popular children's television program Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.
- Joanne Rogers (Fred's widow)
- John Rogers (Fred's son)
- Jim Rogers (Fred's son)
- Elaine Rogers (Fred's sister)
- François Scarborough Clemmons
- Tom Junod
- Yo-Yo Ma
- Joe Negri
- David Newell
- Howard and Pam Erlanger (parents of Jeff Erlanger)
- Fred Rogers in archival recordings
- Koko in archival recordings
- Hilary Hahn
Won't You Be My Neighbor? was shown at many film festivals including on January 19, 2018, at the Sundance Film Festival, February 24, 2018, at the Boulder International Film Festival, March 2, 2018, at the True/False Film Festival, March 16, 2018, at the Miami Film Festival, and May 5, 2018, at the Montclair Film Festival. It had a limited release in US theaters on June 15, 2018. PBS aired the film on February 9, 2019, as part of the network's Independent Lens series.
In November 2018, director Morgan Neville revealed that the original title of the film was The Radical Mister Rogers, but after the election of Donald Trump, the term "radical" had a negative connotation according to Neville.
Won't You Be My Neighbor? made $475,419 from 29 theaters in its first weekend, and $1 million from 96 theaters in its second. Expanding to 348 theaters the following week, it grossed $1.9 million, finishing tenth at the box office. It was added to an additional 306 theaters in its fourth weekend (for a total of 654) and made $2.5 million, again finishing 10th. It made $2.6 million the following weekend, becoming the highest-grossing documentary of 2018 in the process with $12.4 million.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 97% based on 252 reviews, and an average rating of 8.70/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Won't You Be My Neighbor? takes a fittingly patient and honest look at the life and legacy of a television pioneer whose work has enriched generations." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 85 out of 100, based on 41 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
Leslie Felperin of The Guardian gave the film a score of 4 stars out of 5, writing that the film "reveals that [Rogers] really was just what he seemed to be at first innocent sight: a kind-hearted, square but saintly man who genuinely loved and understood children." Amy Nicholson of Variety wrote: "Neville's fantastic archival footage reveals the man through his work—or at least, it reveals his philosophies, if not the childhood memories that gave Rogers the ability to understand a four-year-old's brain, almost as if he still carried his in his cardigan pocket."
David Edelstein of New York magazine wrote: "the most important thing we’re meant to take away is that no matter how we look or feel (sad, mad, plaid), we’re special, each of us, loved unconditionally by this nice, nice man." He concluded: "Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is a wonderful breather from reality, from which you come back more conscious of — and dismayed by — the hate that more than ever runs the world."
J. R. Jones, writing for the Chicago Reader, was more critical of the film in his review, saying: "Nobody wants to hate on Mr. Rogers, so Neville quickly brushes aside the conservative criticism that Mister Rogers' Neighborhood ... may have helped foster our modern American culture of self-involvement and hypersensitivity. This gentle, positive treatment of Rogers coincides with the show's values but devalues his enormous social importance."
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s)||Result||Ref(s)|
|Golden Trailer Awards||May 31, 2018||Best Documentary||Won't You Be My Neighbor?||Won|||
|Critics' Choice Documentary Awards||November 10, 2018||Best Director||Morgan Neville||Won|||
|Best Documentary||Won't You Be My Neighbor?||Won|
|Best Editing||Jeff Malmberg and Aaron Wickenden||Won|
|Most Innovative Documentary||Won't You Be My Neighbor?||Nominated|
|Hollywood Music in Media Awards||November 14, 2018||Original Score—Documentary||Jonathan Kirkscey||Nominated|||
|Gotham Awards||November 26, 2018||Audience Award||Won't You Be My Neighbor?||Won|||
|Best Documentary||Won't You Be My Neighbor?||Nominated|
|IDA Documentary Awards||December 8, 2018||Best Feature||Won't You Be My Neighbor?||Nominated|||
|National Board of Review||January 8, 2019||Top 5 Documentaries||Won't You Be My Neighbor?||Won|||
|Cinema Eye Honors||January 10, 2019||Audience Choice Prize||Won't You Be My Neighbor?||Nominated||[failed verification]|
|Outstanding Achievement in Editing||Jeff Malmberg and Aaron Wickenden||Nominated|
|Outstanding Achievement in Graphic Design or Animation||Ariel Costa and Rodrigo Miguel Rangel||Nominated|
|Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking||Won't You Be My Neighbor?||Nominated|
|Producers Guild of America Awards||January 19, 2019||Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures||Morgan Neville, Nicholas Ma, and Caryn Capotosto||Won|||
|Directors Guild of America Awards||February 2, 2019||Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentaries||Morgan Neville||Nominated|||
|Satellite Awards||February 17, 2019||Best Documentary Film||Won't You Be My Neighbor?||Nominated|||
|Independent Spirit Awards||February 23, 2019||Best Documentary Feature||Morgan Neville, Caryn Capotosto and Nicholas Ma||Won|||
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