Movie Review: A Man Called Otto

Movie Review: A Man Called Otto
I didn't know much about A Man Called Otto going into it, except I had a suspicion it was based off the book A Man Called Ove, and I was right. The book was first made into a movie in 2016 (currently streaming on Prime), and this is the American adaptation of the book, starring Tom Hanks.

Otto Anderson (Hanks) lives alone and is a cranky older man. He shows up at his job for his last day, presumably because he's retiring, then we found out he took a buyout package once his much-younger protegee got promoted to be his boss. He does "rounds" every morning in which he yells at passerby breaking the rules, moves recyclables around to the correct recycling bins, and judges everyone. There is nothing left for him in this world, and after his last day of work, he attempts to commit suicide—and fails. However, when a new family moves in across the street, and he becomes close with them, he does find that life, perhaps, may still be worth living. 

Hanks is great in everything he is in, but I didn't realize I'd need Kleenex for this movie. We learn about Otto's life in flashbacks—how he met his wife-to-be Sonya, and their plans for children together—and the audience slowly pieces together why Otto is how he is now. 

In addition, the rest of the cast is fantastic too, including Hanks' son, Truman Hanks, who, other than a brief cameo as "German Rider" in News of the World, another Hanks movie, much prefers to be behind the camera; he's worked on West Side Story (the newest version) and other films. I could tell as soon as he appeared as Young Otto (in the flashbacks) that he and Tom Hanks were related, and he's apparently his youngest son. 

I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention Mariana TreviƱo as Marisol, one of Otto's new neighbors, as well as her husband Tommy, played by Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, and the two younger actresses who played their children; they help make Otto's neighborhood vibrant again, and he starts spending more time with them, eventually earning the title of "Abuelo Otto" (Grandpa Otto).

I definitely recommend this movie, and I would give it 4.5/5 stars. Like I said earlier, definitely pack some Kleenex—the flashbacks will have you teary, as well as a few other scenes—and if you can go in blind like I did, I encourage you to do so, although now I want to read the book. I ended up really enjoying this movie and I'd recommend it to anyone who likes a good "slice of life" movie; it reminded me a bit of About Schmidt, with Jack Nicholson, another movie about a cranky old man, too. 

A Man Called Otto is in theaters today, January 4th, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 2 hours and 6 minutes. 

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