‘A Man Called Otto’ is wholesome, yet heartbreaking

Tom Hanks returns for another devastating story


Fair use from Sony Pictures Releasing

John Hunter

On Aug. 27, 2012, Fredrik Backman published his first book, “A Man Called Ove.” The story took place in a small town in Sweden, where an old man named Ove lived. He was a grumpy, strict, rule following man who didn’t like it when things were done the wrong way. The story of this old man was revised on Jan. 13. with “A Man Called Otto.” This movie proved that even remakes aren’t what they seem.

After his wife passed away, widower Otto Anderson (Tom Hanks) has been persisting trying to manage living in his home without his wife. One day, a new social and outgoing family moves in next to Otto. The pregnant mother of the family, Marisol (Mariana Treviño) decides to make friends with Otto after his ongoing small acts of kindness, by making him meals to thank him for his helpfulness. 

Along the way, Otto meets many new faces and helps many others despite his blatant aggression. The story tells us why he is the way he is, and gives us insight into his personal life outside of Marisol and her family which is all very heartbreaking and sorrowful in the long run. 

When I first watched the film, all I had heard was that Tom Hanks plays a grumpy old man named Otto. All I expected was that at the end of the movie he would change and become a better person. But what I thought was interesting about the movie, was that his character didn’t have much development throughout the film. 

In the movie, Otto has always been the same, he was always a kind and caring man. But his sternness came from the loss of his wife. His love for his wife never left him, and not having her as a part of his life anymore has made him grim. 

Tom Hanks does a fantastic job playing Otto Anderson, he shows plenty of emotion in the character without showing any at all. His character has so much depth, he’s a kind man who helps others when he can. But to everyone Otto Anderson seems as if he is just an old, lonely, and angry man, when he isn’t that way whatsoever.

The movie does a great job of showing the mental and emotional toll that the loss of someone close can have on a person. There are dozens of times in this movie when Otto thinks back on his life with his wife. He thinks back on the time they met, the happiest moments in their life together, and the most devastating ones as well.

I think another very interesting part about “A Man Called Otto” was that it took place in the same setting for almost the entire film. There were very few times when the protagonists actually left the enclosed neighborhood that the characters all live in. This played more into the “reserved” feel of the film. Otto is a very reserved person who closes off society unless things don’t go according to rules. Only then does he intervene. 

In the end, they wrap up the entire story very well. Otto has made a connection with Marisol and her family, he has become more friendly towards people in his neighborhood. He continues to live his life doing the things that make him happy.

I think the overall message of the movie is to live your life being happy, do things that make you happy, surround yourself with people that make you happy despite all of the obstacles that come your way. 

If you’re looking for an emotional movie, with a wholesome story and a devastating ending, “A Man Called Otto” is definitely worth your while. 

“A Man Called Otto:” ★★★★★