'A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood' and 'Joker' Invoke Opposing Sides of the Human Psyche

December 06, 2019 08:39 AM
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The recent film release, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” by Marielle Heller, is based on the Esquire magazine article, "Can you say..Hero?" that award-winning journalist Tom Junod wrote in 1998 about Fred Rogers. Rogers is an American TV personality who spoke to children and advocated empathy, understanding and reconciliation. The newly released films shows how two polar opposites, an empathic Mister Rogers and a cynical writer, become friends. Some have said the movie makes them “want to be better people.” Conversely, Todd Phillips’ “Joker,” a billion-dollar box office hit, offers a dark portrait of Batman’s nemesis, thriving on rancor, revenge and social chaos. VOA’s Penelope Poulou looks at the two films' contrasting messages