Director Marielle Heller frames "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" as if it were an episode of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," with miniature sets of cars and bridges to illustrate New York and Pittsburgh. Mr. Rogers, played with clear-eyed purpose by Tom Hanks, introduces the audience to the film's protagonist, journalist Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys), using his "picture window" in that all-too-familiar living room where he's just changed into his sneakers and sweater. It's even rated PG.
But "A Beautiful Day" is not really a children's story at all. It's a story about a man who suffers from the doubly impossible combination of being an adult and an investigative journalist. In other words, he's the person least likely to be charmed by the straightforward sincerity of someone like Fred Rogers.