7. One minute of silence in ‘A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood’
Fresh off the success of her Oscar-nominated Can You Ever Forgive Me, directing Melissa McCarthy in one of her career-best roles, Marielle Heller is back doing the same with Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers in A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood. Heller brings subtle, intelligent nuance to what easily could’ve slipped into schmaltzy territory. Instead, the story of a hardened journalist, Lloyd, learning a thing or two about kindness from none other than Mister Rogers, is an exquisitely bittersweet and melancholy experience.
The best moment arrives in a diner when Mister Rogers tasks Lloyd to sit for a minute of silence and think about someone who has positively affected his life. The dull commotion of the diner dies down as lookers-on also participate and all ambient sound in the film fades away. About midway through the exercise, Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers even breaks the fourth wall and looks directly at the audience, forcing us as viewers to participate as well.
It’s an astonishing and surprising moment that somehow works wonders and could only come from a talented director like Marielle Heller.