A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is without a doubt an early awards season contender, at least that’s how it’s being propped up to look like. It’s obviously about Mister Rogers. Still, what people may not know, and perhaps the trailer doesn’t explain too well, is that it’s actually a fact-based story about the real-life friendship that developed between two complete opposites, the uber-positive TV personality, Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks) and a cynical curmudgeon journalist, Tom Junod (Matthew Rhys, whose character is renamed Lloyd Vogel). The film capitalizes on many small moments, uses them in big ways designed to tug at people’s heartstrings, and it’s effective for what it is. A little cheesy to melodramatic at times, but overall a tight, in-focus production in spite of a pretty inexperienced director (Marielle Heller). Hanks and Rhys are fine, but nothing superlative. Still, they’ll probably get nominated for awards anyway. Watching this movie reminded me of what Eric Cartman once said on South Park about two-time Oscar winner Hanks: “Tom Hanks can’t act his way out of a nut-sack!” Chris Cooper co-stars.