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A Man Called Otto (2022)

A Predictable Movie That Fills You With Warmth And Joy

4th January 2023

If you ask any film journalist or critic who the nicest A-lister in Hollywood is, it doesn’t take long before someone mentions Tom Hanks. For years, he has been known for his light-hearted, warm, joyful, and award-winning roles.

Think of movies such as “You’ve Got Mail”, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood”,  and “Big”. However, this time, he shows us a different side in “A Man Called Otto”, the latest movie from director Marc Forster (“Quantum of Solace”, “Finding Neverland”). When this adaptation of the Fredrik Backman novel was announced, it was met with some criticism. However, it’s Forster and screenwriter David Magee (“Life of Pi”, “Finding Neverland”) who have the last laugh.

We all know that life can be bumpy, but for Otto (Tom Hanks), that ride is about to end. It’s clear that his will to live isn’t there anymore and that every day is a lonely struggle. His loneliness slowly turned into bitterness, making him the grumpiest person in his neighbourhood. Complaining about his neighbours, people driving through, the new building construction, etc., every second of every day, Otto finds something to complain about.

The list becomes even longer when his new over-the-road neighbours move into their homes. The couple, Marisol (Mariana Treviño) and her husband Tommy (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), and their two kids, are the total opposites of Otto: Dynamic, full-of-life, welcoming and always together.

It doesn’t take long before they get to know each other. While Otto is still grumpy at first, when the Mexican heath starts to melt his cold heart, he opens up to Marisol and her family bit by bit. But then, Otto faces another setback which can completely turn his life and neighbourhood around. Will he become his old, lonely and grumpy self again, or will he finally see what can happen if you open yourself to other people?

If you’ve read Backman’s book or seen the original Swedish adaptation, “A Man Called Ove”, you know how straightforward this movie is. “A Man Called Otto” is a see-is-what-you-get film, and apart from an underused subplot and some flashbacks to heighten the emotional level, the movie is as plain and simple.

There are predictable topics such as (re)connection, grief, family, community, etc. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, you’ll need some stellar acting performances to ensure that the film doesn’t become too dull. Luckily, that’s precisely what Forster got.

When watching “A Man Called Otto”, it’s clear that the leading character hates life (for obvious reasons) and the people around him. However, because of the excellent performance by Hanks (“Sully”, ”Elvis”), Otto never becomes the stereotypical grumpy, lonely and defeated man. Instead, Hanks brings a lot of complexity to his character with one emotional look or gripping facial expression. While there’re some over-the-top moments, Hanks’ perfect performance is both small and big simultaneously.

Another big performance in this movie comes from Treviño (“Polvo”, “Club de Cuervos”). From the moment Marisol appears on the screen, Treviño ensures that her character shines exceptionally bright. She’s an absolute bundle of joy and a delight to watch. Her comedic, pure-hearted, and welcoming Marisol is the opposite of Otto.

This results in a lovely chemistry between her and Hanks and funny and heart-warming on-screen moments. Treviño is certainly Hanks’ equal in this movie. Even the more supporting cast members such as Rachel Keller (“In the Shadow of the Moon”), who plays Otto’s one true love, Garcia-Rulfo (“The Magnificent Seven”, “6 Underground”) as Marisol’s clumsy and loving husband, and Truman Hanks (“Wrath of Man”, “West Side Story”), who portrays the younger Otto, are top-notch.

While “A Man Called Otto” is very predictable, it’s certainly a movie for which you must open your heart. The familiarity (good or bad), emotions, sparkles of hope and optimism and Hanks and Treviño’s performances ensure that “A Man Called Otto” fills you with warmth and joy.

DETAILS

   

RELEASE DATE
6th January 2023

DIRECTED BY
Marc Forster

WRITTEN BY
David Magee

Running Time:
2hr 6min

THE QUICK SELL
Otto is a grump who's given up on life following the loss of his wife and wants to end it all. When a young family moves in nearby, he meets his match in quick-witted Marisol, leading to a friendship that will turn his world around.

CAST & CREW
Alessandra Perez, Christiana Montoya, David Magee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Marc Forster, Mariana Treviño, Rachel Keller, Tom Hanks, Truman Hanks

DETAILS

   

RELEASE DATE
6th January 2023

DIRECTED BY
Marc Forster

WRITTEN BY
David Magee

Running Time:
2hr 6min

THE QUICK SELL
Otto is a grump who's given up on life following the loss of his wife and wants to end it all. When a young family moves in nearby, he meets his match in quick-witted Marisol, leading to a friendship that will turn his world around.

CAST & CREW
Alessandra Perez, Christiana Montoya, David Magee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Marc Forster, Mariana Treviño, Rachel Keller, Tom Hanks, Truman Hanks

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