Back in May it was announced that a biopic is in the works about the life of Mister Rogers, one that will at last remove the jacket of politeness from the late children’s entertainer and reveal his deep, dark, inner cardigan of also being very helpful. But that biopic will now have to learn to share with I’m Proud Of You, another Fred Rogers film that we should all be extra nice to because it’s new, and sometimes new films can be a little shy. Particularly films that are directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, the couple who make movies like Little Miss Sunshine and Ruby Sparks that are very sensitive and special, just like you.
Based on journalist Tim Madigan’s memoir, I’m Proud Of You is the story of how an interview with Mister Rogers turned into a lifelong friendship, one that helped Madigan become a better husband and father and overcome his bouts of depression—presumably by giving him a safe space to run away from all his problems in the Neighborhood of Make Believe, where Madigan could just crash for a while until he figured shit out. (“Meow meow you were crying in your sleep again meow meow,” Henrietta Pussycat would say, barely concealing her contempt.) It remains to be seen which Mister Rogers movie will be the first to theaters, but both should remember that—as Mister Rogers always taught us—each is unique in their own special way, and that one must die in order for the other to live.
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