So far, Tom Hanks (66) has only rarely been seen: As a grim pensioner Otto, he drives his neighbors crazy in "A Man Named Otto". For the US adaptation of the Swedish film "A Man Named Ove", the Oscar winner shows an unusual side. Film lovers will probably remember him as a friendly bon vivant in "Forrest Gump" or as a committed lawyer in "Philadelphia". Otto seems so different from most of Hanks' characters. His own personality also seems to have little in common with his new character. And yet, Hanks captivates viewers with his latest performance. This is what cinema-goers can expect from February 2, 2023.
The film begins with Otto in a hardware store. While there he wants to buy a rope for his planned suicide, he gets into a conflict. After all, the newly retired person doesn't want to spend a penny too much on it. In the first few minutes, Otto comes across as unfriendly, obsessed with order and grouchy - the other customers and salespeople are being tested in their patience by him. This is just the beginning of Otto's peculiarities.
Otto's attempt to hang himself in his own apartment fails. How unfortunate that he has already terminated the electricity, the telephone connection and the heating. Still, he doesn't seem to get bored. A new family has moved into the house across the street. Marisol (Mariana Treviño, 45) and Tommy (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, 41) now live in the neighborhood with their two young daughters - not exactly to Otto's delight.
Especially the loud and chaotic Marisol has taken an interest in Otto, who is more or less her complete opposite. She inquires about her neighbor, brings him food and asks for help with parking or repair work. Otto always reacts snappishly to Marisol, but always gives in in the end. In the course of the film, the American with Mexican roots slowly manages to thaw out the grouch. A highlight of the film: Otto teaches Marisol how to drive. With clutch. And that in the USA. The relationship between the two is fascinating to watch. Otto is opening up to his neighbor more and more often and can now even laugh with her.
Nevertheless, Otto is still plagued by grief and remorse. His young version (played by Tom Hanks' son Truman Hanks, 27) is seen in flashbacks with his wife Sonya (Rachel Keller, 30). Their sweet love story warms the hearts of the viewers, because that's not how you know the Otto of today. However, Otto and Sonya's lives are forever changed overnight. And as the audience notices from the beginning of the film, it seems that Sonya is no longer alive. Otto is a widower who cannot imagine life without his better half.
"A Man Called Otto" is an American remake. The Swedish original is based on the novel of the same name "A Man Called Ove" (2012) by Fredrik Backman, which enjoyed worldwide success thanks to its English translation. Basically, both versions of the film are quite similar. Ove becomes Otto, the Iranian neighbor Parvaneh becomes the Mexican Marisol. The plot is also almost identical, but the new version seems more hopeful in some places. Both films tell the same story, but have different intentions.
"A Man Named Otto" is a film that makes viewers laugh with all their hearts. Each character has a distinct personality, and because these different temperaments don't harmonize with each other, it's so entertaining to watch the relationships develop. But "A man named Otto" also leaves you with a heavy feeling in your heart. First and foremost, this film is extremely tragic. Not only Otto's fate is difficult to cope with, it seems as if each character has its own heavy burden to carry.
However, it is the mix of tragedy and comedy that makes the film gripping. The character traits of Otto, Marisol and Co. seem partly exaggerated. However, this is quickly forgiven when you see how the film develops. "A man named Otto" can be enjoyed with mixed feelings. Because as sad as it is in some places, the film shows how important it is to open up to your fellow human beings and not endure your suffering alone.
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