‘The Man Called Otto’ Is Totally Wrong For Hanks…and Us

Marc Forster’s “A Man Named Otto” stars Tom Hanks in the lead role as an eccentric, angry old man who effectively removes people from his life.

Call it “Forrest Grump.”

Otto lives alone, resentful of his job cuts being dubbed “retired” and a nuisance to neighbors. Inside his apartment, Otto misses his late wife and contemplates suicide.

Will the nosy but affectionate new neighbors bring Otto back? Will Otto come out of his shell and teach one of the neighbors how to drive? Will there be hospital bed scenes and even birth scenes? Does being around extroverted detractors force Otto to be a better man?

Have you ever seen a movie before?

I don’t blame you if you love this movie. In fact, I know at least a dozen people who will probably love this and will eventually tell me how it made them cry. It’s good now. No judgment from me. At the end of the aisle, I find it utterly irresistible, in numbers, and offensive.

“A Man Called Otto” is based on the popular 2015 Swedish film “A Man Called Ove” which was originally a 2013 novel. If you have seen “As Good As it Gets” (1997) ), “Everybody’s Fine” (both versions) or any movie about an old man who needs to embrace the fractured friendships around him, you’ll be one step ahead this whole way.

Everything plays out exactly as you’d expect, as there are hardly any character introductions you can’t predict (think Otto will always hate that cat? Think again!) in a completely scripted scenario. predictable.

In Hanks’ long, interesting, but not always wise, workload, this is befitting of odd choices that might look appealing on paper but he should’ve ignored. Put Otto next to his turn in “Hologram for the King”, “World News”, “Circle”, “Cloud Map” and, another big mistake of 2022, “Elvis.”

Hanks is often the best thing about bad movies or at least, he did his best to breathe life into a fizzled movie script.

Playing Otto, Hanks was too young and his choice of role was still too adventurous, for him to settle into a parody of “Gran Turino”. Maybe that’s the idea – Hanks worked with Clint Eastwood on “Sully” and his Otto is a brute to Eastwood, right?

Well, Eastwood, on and off screen, always conveys layers deeper than anything in this movie and Hanks’ brusque voice on and off.

Hanks has a large monologue at the end, in which Otto explains “I lived for Sonya.” He expresses it with such realism that it is another moment when he shows master class when acting in an unworthy medium.

Hanks can make us believe almost anything, even a moment completely stolen by Sylvester Stallone: ​​Otto sits by his wife’s gravestone and reads her the newspaper, the right side of “Rocky Balboa” ” (2006).

Forster is a filmmaker with a few movies that I like, but there are many more that I will never sit back and watch again. The reason – he has a heavy hand and has trouble transferring sounds. As with most of his creations, moments of grit and affection don’t creep in as much as they reach directly to the audience.

The supporting characters are clearly representative of personality traits with which Otto eventually has to get used to. A braver, smarter movie would realize that Otto doesn’t have to conform to these holy grail antics.

Here, we must warm to these widespread stereotypes. The equivalent of Helen Hunt’s waiter in “As Good As it Gets” is absent because there is no center of the population. Mike Birbiglia gets abused in a minor to heavy role, and there’s a really influential transgender character that should have been more focused, rather than being used as a plot device.

The actors are doing what they are told but at the script level these characters are unbearable.

Many flashbacks are not interesting, as everything they reveal is inevitable. Yes, the law of cinema is to show rather than tell, but this may have cut off all of Young Otto’s years. A subplot involving a viral event and how it plays out during the climax is a complete hoax.

If there’s one weakness that can’t be saved, it’s when Otto comes out as the hospital clown. Talk about low hanging fruit.

Coming in second is Kate Bush’s shameless, unforgivable use of “This Woman’s Work” that deserves a place in “She’s Being a Baby” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” but is out of place and out of place. despair here.

“A Man Called Otto” has multiple endings, with each ending making that exit door seem further and further away. Hanks clearly put his heart into this version, as he and his wife, Rita Wilson, not only produced the version, but Wilson also provided an ending theme song.

The last time Hanks showed his heart so openly, it was when he wrote, starred, and directed “Larry Crowne,” another movie I’ll never have to put up with. the second time.

Hanks will get through these five creative stumbling blocks – playing Otto, Geppetto and Colonel Tom Parker would put most of the actors in jail, but Hanks won’t! If you’re a lifelong fan like me, he’ll definitely come back, as he always does.

For those who think Hanks can’t do anything wrong and haven’t seen every hit holiday comedy on the Hallmark Channel, there’s always “A Man Called Otto”.

One and a half stars


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