Nicest man in the world inspires us all

Be kind: Tom Hanks as big-hearted American TV entertainer, Fred Rogers. © Sony Pictures

In the film A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood, Tom Hanks plays a character who is deeply and completely kind and decent. Based on a true story, millions of people are flocking to see it.

What’s happening

Actor Tom Hanks has said that the increasing level of cynicism in society is partly what led him to take a role as a loveable children’s entertainer.

In his latest movie, which is showing in cinemas now, the actor plays Fred Rogers, a legendary wholesome and warm American TV host who died in 2003.

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“Cynicism has become the default position for so much,” Hanks told reporters at the film’s launch. “Why? Because it’s easy, and there’s good money to be made.”

A Beautiful Day In The Neighbourhood is directed by Marielle Heller, well-known for the Oscar-nominated Can You Ever Forgive Me?

The story follows the relationship between Rogers and a journalist for Esquire magazine, who wrote a profile of the entertainer in 1998.

The journalist, Tom Junod, was just the kind of cynical personality Hanks refers to. But when he met Rogers, he found a more complex character than he was expecting.

And over time, he and Rogers became great friends.

So, should we all – like Fred Rogers – simply try to kinder and nicer?

Some say…

Sadly, it is not that easy, say some. Being kind and nice all the time often means hiding one’s real feelings. And that can be bad for you. If you see the film, you will notice that in the role of Fred Rogers, Tom Hanks does hint at having his own bad moods. But he also has a very calm and steady life. And being cheerful and wise is his job.

Others think…

Obviously, it is a good idea to try to be kind, say others. Just because we can’t always achieve it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. And if we try for long enough, it can become almost automatic – a good habit that we do without thinking about. Finally, it can be catching. Being nice to someone usually means they are also nicer to others.

You Decide

  1. Do you think we are too suspicious of each other these days?

Activities

  1. Make a list of three kind things you can remember doing since Christmas.

Some People Say...

“There are three ways to ultimate success. The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.”

Fred Rogers (1928-2003), US TV presenter

What do you think?

Word Watch

Cynicism
An attitude of distrust in other people. Someone who is cynical (a cynic) may have a general lack of faith or hope in the human species.
Wholesome
Morally or physically good. Sometimes, very idealistic.
Default position
A typical way of doing or thinking something.
Launch
Here, an event to celebrate something, such as a film, that’s new.
Oscar-nominated
It was voted to receive Oscar awards for best leading actress, actor and screenplay, but didn’t win.

Subjects

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