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A Man Called Otto (15)

Cast: Rachel Keller, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Tom Hanks, Mack Bayda, Mariana Trevino
Genre: Comedy
Author(s): David Magee
Director: Marc Forster
Release Date: 06/01/2023
Running Time: 126mins
Country: Swe/US
Year: 2022

English-language remake of A Man Called Ove. Widower Otto Anderson lost his wife to cancer six months ago. Seemingly alone in the world, Otto decides to take his own life. During one suicide attempt, he is interrupted by expectant mother Marisol and her husband Tommy, who are moving into an apartment across the road. Despite Otto's best efforts to scare off Marisol with his brusque demeanour, she encourages him to rediscover the simple joys of living.


LondonNet Film Review

A Man Called Otto (15) Film Review from LondonNet

Misery loves the company of Tom Hanks in director Marc Forster’s English-language remake of the 2015 Swedish comedy drama A Man Called Ove, adapted from the novel by Fredrik Backman. The two-time Oscar winner plays a socially awkward 60-something curmudgeon, who intends to take his own life so he can be reunited with his late wife but is repeatedly distracted from the grim task by unsuspecting neighbours. Screenwriter David Magee transplants the darkly humorous subject matter from Scandinavia to the snow-laden American Midwest but retains the core emotional values of Hannes Holm’s original script including a dewy-eyed resolution that targets tear ducts almost as ruthlessly as the fictional Dye & Merica real estate agency identifies elderly residents in Otto’s neighbourhood for hasty relocation to the nearest care home….

A Man Called Ove was nominated for two Academy Awards including Best International Feature Film. Despite an endearing lead performance from Hanks and a luminous supporting turn from Mariana Trevino, it’s unlikely that Forster’s picture will be troubling Oscar voters but A Man Called Otto still charms and uplifts without apology. It’s wholesome, socially conscious, crowd-pleasing fare that recruits Hanks’s youngest son Truman to portray Otto in heart-tugging flashbacks.

Six months have passed since since Otto Anderson’s schoolteacher wife Sonya (Rachel Keller) lost her hard-fought battle with cancer. The misanthropic widower has grown increasingly resentful of cheerful neighbours in his housing community who refuse to display parking permits on their rear-view mirrors, or recycle glass bottles in a bin clearly designated for paper. He is a stickler for rules and regulations and Otto takes umbrage with a clerk at a hardware store who charges him for six feet of rope when he only requires five feet to fashion a noose to hang himself in the living room.

During the suicide attempt, Otto is interrupted by heavily pregnant Marisol (Trevino) and her husband Tommy (Manuel Garcia-Ruflo), who are moving into a house across the street with their two cherubic girls, Luna (Christiana Montoya) and Abbie (Alessandra Perez). Despite Otto’s best efforts to scare off Marisol with his brusque demeanour, she breaks down his defences with kindness and home cooking. The ebullient mother-to-be encourages Otto to confront his demons and rediscover the simple joys of living in the company of neighbour Jimmy (Cameron Britton) and one of Sonya’s former students, transgender teenager Malcolm (Mack Bayda).

A Man Called Otto casts a warm glow and ultimately teases out Hanks’s nice guy persona but not before the eponymous grouch has slammed his front door in neighbours’ faces and rudely dismissed almost everyone in his orbit as idiots. Trevino is an irresistibly bubbly tonic and a pleasing counterpoint to Hanks’s exasperated eye rolls and growls. She hugs Otto and us into submission.

– Kim Hu


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