It\u2019s hard to hold back tears while watching \u201cA Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.\u201d The cynics and critics will say that director Marielle Heller\u2019s film telegraphs some of its emotional plot points but the reality is when dealing with a subject like Fred Rogers, audience expectations can see the entire field in front of them. The magic lies in not manipulating that field but inhabiting its relatable characters who are scared and flawed, like the rest of us, and watching the game play out. A word to the wise: This isn\u2019t a Rogers biopic. If you want an insight into what made the children\u2019s television host tick and what his life\u2019s journey looked like, you\u2019d be better off watching the excellent documentary \u201cWon\u2019t You Be My Neighbor\u201d that came out last year. No, Heller is much more interested in Rogers\u2019 impact on the world around him \u2014 and those who were fortunate enough to be considered his close friends, like journalist Tom Junod who profiled Mister Rogers in a 1998 article in Esquire Magazine. And the film is a lot better off because of this decision. Junod is repurposed here as Lloyd Vogel (played masterfully by Emmy-award winning actor Matthew Rhys), a jaded writer with a lack of empathy. Just how deep does Vogel\u2019s distrust in humanity run? Well, let\u2019s just say Rogers is the only person willing to speak into the recorder after a series of heavy-hitting stories net Vogel praise amongst magazine writers but deprive him from picking his next assignment. Vogel is tragically unaware that his isolation, frustration, and fear have seeped into the core of existence \u2014 to the point he can\u2019t make it to give a toast at his sister\u2019s wedding without picking a fight. Although Rogers opens the film and introduces us to Vogel and his plight, America\u2019s favorite neighbor doesn\u2019t truly enter the stage to do the heavy lifting until after the wedding. It\u2019s the absolute perfect use of the famous puppeteer. He\u2019s in every scene without being physically present in every scene. And that\u2019s because Heller never wants to overwhelm us with Rogers \u2014 this is Vogel\u2019s journey from darkness into the light of kindness. And it\u2019s one every American should want to take this upcoming week of Thanksgiving. It helps that Heller has employed Tom Hanks to play the key supporting role. It\u2019s hard to talk about the film without mentioning the two-time Oscar winner who\u2019s on the film\u2019s poster and embodies Mister Rogers with grace and humility. It\u2019s an iconic performance \u2014 one of a dozen on Hanks\u2019 shelf. There are three scenes with Rhys\u2019 Vogel that cause the throat to tighten and the eyes to water. And yes, they\u2019re \u201cpredictably\u201d \u2014 and rightfully \u2014 scattered across the film\u2019s first, second, and third act. There\u2019re lessons to take away from each of these moments but what really makes Heller\u2019s film stay with you long after the closing credits is the work that\u2019s being done when Rogers exits stage left. Hanks is all but guaranteed to get his first Academy Award nomination since Cast Away in 2000, (side bar: Has it really been two decades since Hanks has received this type of attention? It doesn\u2019t seem right but somehow it\u2019s true), but now\u2019s the right time to mention that he should have competition in the supporting actor category from Chris Cooper who plays Vogel\u2019s dad, Jerry. Cooper, who won Best Supporting Actor for his brilliant turn in Spike Jonze\u2019s \u201cAdaptation\u201d in 2002, has never been better. This is a career-defining performance, and hopefully, one that receives the Academy\u2019s recognition in January. If Rogers and Vogel\u2019s conversations don\u2019t spark your sensations, the father-son relationship buried beneath the film\u2019s log line is sure to do the trick. \u201cA Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood\u201d is a beautiful story about coming to terms with your past and releasing the trauma from it. It\u2019s also a film about staying present \u2014 working hard every minute of every day to choose compassion and gentleness instead of anger and panic. Like Mister Rogers\u2019 show, Heller\u2019s movie isn\u2019t afraid to dip into the painful subjects of life, wrestle with them, and attempt to come out with useful life lessons for people of all ages. It\u2019s an absolute perfect reflection of the man\u2019s life work. He was what every neighbor should be: open, honest and ready to talk.