Movie review: “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” (2018)


“The greatest thing that we can do is to help somebody know that they’re loved, and capable of loving.”

In purely technical terms, we have been without Fred Rogers for fifteen years. I know, it surprised me too; although by the time of his passing in 2003 he had, for me, long since drifted out of sight, if never quite out of mind. The mind is funny that way, as I learned while watching Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, a spellbinding new documentary that does generations perhaps suffering similar problems of perception, in addition to those not yet born, the courtesy of presenting the man and his work on roughly equal footing. Both are nothing less than inspirational. Technicality has no place in the realm of feelings, of course, and so those fifteen years might well be millennia to some – whether or not they are wholly cognizant of the loss – so difficult is his absence, so great is the distance from there to here, so dark and cold it can be to sit, day after day with insufficient comfort, in the shadow of a sun obscured. Yeah, my trusty house brand of hyperbole shrinks in the face of the legacy of Fred Rogers Continue reading “Movie review: “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” (2018)”

Parting thoughts on “Downton Abbey”


WARNING: Massive spoilers ahoy. Tread lightly.

Another picturesque morning dawns at Downton Abbey and finds the extended Crawley clan – Lord Robert Grantham and his wife, Lady Cora; their headstrong and heretofore unattainable daughter Mary, with her freshly pressed husband of less than five cumulative wedded minutes onscreen, the former race car driver Henry, and her young son from a previous marriage, George; their perpetually lightning struck middle daughter turned surprisingly capable modern woman, Edith, and her official “ward” but natural daughter, Marigold; their Irish widower son-in-law, the former revolutionary turned estate agent and erstwhile matchmaker, Tom, with his daughter Sybil (named after his late wife, the Grantham’s youngest daughter); their cousin Isobel, sensible, empathetic mother of the former widow Mary’s late first husband – strolling the grounds and talking idly about this plan or the other, in no particular apparent hurry to get any underway. To see this group of “formers” together, content, convivial, and out of doors, freed of the magnificent bunker that is its ancestral castle and largely unencumbered even by fawning servants, is our first indication that things have somewhat changed Continue reading “Parting thoughts on “Downton Abbey””