A Man Called Otto Review
By Myla Tosatto
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman is a mighty good book. Heck, it’s a mighty great book. The original Swedish movie from 2015 is a good movie. A really good movie, in fact. But A Man Called Otto, the Americanized version, is better. It holds the original story closer and more importantly, dearer to its heart. And heart is what A Man Called Otto is all about.
This time around, Tom Hanks is portraying the ultimate curmudgeon, Otto Anderson. Otto is a man set in his ways but is watching his ways disappear. His wife has died, he no longer works, and he can’t understand why anyone would drive a Toyota. He feels his best days are behind him, and he now wishes to join his wife in the afterlife. When he is literally at his wit’s end, a young family moves in across the street to upend his life. Marisol (Mariana Treviño), Tommy (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), Luna (Christiana Montoya), and Abbie (Alessandra Perez) need Otto so much that he eventually opens himself up to them and to others who need him.
This is a story about life and death and isn’t always easy. We learn about Otto’s past life through flashbacks of him as a younger man (Truman Hanks) and his wife, Sonya (Rachel Keller). These scenes are especially difficult. The pain isn’t glossed over and may be hard for some people to deal with.
A Man Called Otto isn’t depressing, though. It’s an uplifting story about promise, purpose, and love. It is a film that uplifts the human (and cat) spirit. You will laugh. You will cry. But most importantly, you will still call people idiots under your breath when you leave the cinema (or is that just me and Otto?).