Film Review – A Man Called Otto (2022)

Title – A Man Called Otto (2022) 

Director – Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball) 

Cast – Tom Hanks, Mariana Treviño, Rachel Keller, Cameron Britton

Plot – Cantankerous and widowed Otto (Hanks) finds his quiet and lonely life interrupted by new neighbour Marisol (Trevino) and her family, causing the lost soul to find a new lease on life he thought he would never have again. 

“Fall in love with the grumpiest man in America” 

Review by Eddie on 24/05/2023

When you think of the grumpiest man in America, Tom Hanks isn’t a name that instantly springs too mind. 

Casting the peoples favourite in the Hollywood remake/adaptation of Fredrik Backman’s book and Hannes Holm’s beloved European feature film A Man Called Ove, A Man Called Otto is very much a typical Hollywood created bout of crowd-pleasing action, that takes great pleasure in ensuring Hanks gets to grump-it up to maximum effect in a predictable tale that is also undeniably wholesome. 

Never once delivering an experience you would be surprised too get from this tale, Otto sticks very close to the winning formula that made the original book and film adaptation such notable hits with audiences, as up and down director Marc Forster ensures the ship he is steering adheres to all age-old rules of such feel-good affairs that here follows Hanks fed up and suicidal widower that takes great pride in being dissatisfied at all times, until a chirpy neighbour happens to bound into his life at the most unexpected of times. 

The friendship that strikes up between Hanks wanting to end it all Otto and Mariana Treviño’s unashamedly positive mother and immigrant Marisol plays out the exact way in which you would expect from this type of mismatched duo but thanks to both performers, Otto and Marisol’s budding friendship is a likeable one that stands above all the narrative conveniences and over the top happenings that surround them with this central friendship by far the highlight of an otherwise pedestrian affair. 

While marketed as a drama with comedic elements, Otto is a far darker film than one might expect with it tackling an array of heavy themes and moments that don’t always gel together the way in which Forster would’ve been hoping for, with the films various flashbacks to a younger Otto and his relationship with Rachel Keller as his girlfriend/wife Sonya feeling far too much like a Hallmark movie of the week special to give this feature extra weight and Otto’s interactions with other members of the street in which he lives in also seeming to be from a different film entirely, so much is there over the top and distracting nature. 

Stripping everything back, Otto is a film that accomplishes what it sets out too do but there’s nothing on an emotional level or film-making level that elevates Hanks and Forster’s film above the pack of which there are multiple similar efforts such as this each and every single year looking for easy wins and an openly accepting grey-haired audience. 

Final Say – 

Inoffensive and hard to discredit, A Man Called Otto does little you wouldn’t expect of it and while it offers a nice chance to see Tom Hanks try and not be charming, this Hollywood drama fails to provide the same level of quality as its source material and original film. 

3 frozen felines out of 5  

2 responses to “Film Review – A Man Called Otto (2022)

  1. My first instinct when I saw this movie was to call the authorities, as it seems someone secretly followed my dad around then created the character of Otto. Seriously, rest his soul, I literally saw the hardware store rope scene play out in real life decades ago. And the clown scene. And the delivery driver parking scene. As far as the movie goes you are right on the mark, it is darker than some might think and there’s nothing special about it. I know it was based off a book and that is what it felt like watching it, a book. But Hanks shined, as he almost always does, and gave me a good (not so good) stroll down memory lane with my cranky dad.

    • Gee mate must have been very odd watching a character and situations play out that felt so close to home! I thought Otto was a little over the top, but perhaps I was wrong in my assumptions.

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