Cinema: A Journalist’s emotionally beautiful day

A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD (PG)

Friday, 10th January 2020, 10:32 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th February 2020, 10:25 am
A beautiful day in the neighborhood
A beautiful day in the neighborhood

A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood dramatises the meeting of an emotionally bruised journalist (Matthew Rhys) and softly-spoken children's TV host Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks), who preached understanding and compassion for more than 30 years on his half-hour educational series Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

Regular forays into the Neighborhood of Make-Believe in the company of hand puppets and colourful supporting characters allowed Rogers to directly address his audience and shepherd pre-schoolers through tricky rites of passage. Scriptwriters Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster bookmark the cynical reporter's journey of self-discovery with miniature models of New York and Pittsburgh that perfectly reflect the opening sequence of Rogers's show. By the time Fred launches into his closing theme song, It's Such A Good Feeling, we're in rhapsodic agreement.

QUEEN & SLIM (15)

A first date culminates in a kiss of death in Melina Matsoukas's stylish, sweaty and absorbing romance, which one character pithily describes as "the black Bonnie and Clyde".

Fuelled by the fury of Black Lives Matter, Queen & Slim kindles a fledgling romance between seemingly mismatched singletons and allows those sparks to build into a raging inferno of passion and protest in the aftermath of a police shooting that could have been ripped from news headlines.

Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith are handsomely matched as the luckless love birds, who become poster children for racial injustice. The jazz and Delta blues of Herbie Hancock and Little Freddie King jive comfortably next to the rap and R&B of Mike Jones and Lauryn Hill, whose soaring track Guarding The Gates is her first new music in over five years.