Won’t you be Tom Hanks‘ neighbor? Most viewers, after seeing his performance as Mister Rogers, would say yes.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, also starring Matthew Rhys and directed by Can You Ever Forgive Me? helmer Marielle Heller, had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival Saturday. On Twitter, critics shared their largely positive reactions to the film, which included plenty of praise for Hanks’ performance as the beloved children’s TV icon.
“America’s Dad nails it,” USA Today’s Brian Truitt proclaimed, adding, “Tom Hanks does Mr. Rogers Daniel Tiger and that world justice.” Others called the performance “absolute perfection” and one of the best of Hanks’ storied career.
Rhys also received praise, with the BBC’s Lizo Mzimba noting the movie is “so much more [Rhys’] character’s film than Tom Hanks’s.” “Rhys gives a complex multi layered performance in a film which some may find overly sentimental, but which has unexpected darkness in it too,” he wrote.
As for the film itself, many noted that Hanks’ Mister Rogers plays a less central role than one might expect. (Heller has repeatedly stated the film is not a Rogers biopic.) “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is essentially a Mister Rogers episode for grownups. The man himself remains opaque; this is not a story about him but about why we need him,” Mashable’s Angie Han wrote. Esther Zuckerman of Thrillist echoed Han, noting the film “is less about Mister Rogers than about the idea of Mister Rogers, male vulnerability, and forgiveness. It’s a tearjerker, yes, but one that sneaks up on you.”
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood hits theaters Nov. 22. In the meantime, check out a sampling of reactions from TIFF below.