A MAN CALLED OTTO – Review by Gadi Elkon

Marc Forster’s sincere remake of ‘A Man Called Ove’ is a real early treat for 2023.  Here is my full review of A MAN CALLED OTTO.

Based on the # 1 New York Times bestseller “A Man Called Ove,” A Man Called Otto tells the story of Otto Anderson (Tom Hanks), a grump who no longer sees purpose in his life following the loss of his wife. Otto is ready to end it all, but his plans are interrupted when a lively young family moves in next door, and he meets his match in quick-witted Marisol. She challenges him to see life differently, leading to an unlikely friendship that turns his world around. A heartwarming and funny story about love, loss, and life, A Man Called Otto shows that family can sometimes be found in the most unexpected places.

The “Americanization” elements of the film help mirror wintery Pittsburgh with it’s Swedish counterpart in the original film. The characters are what really shine though.  Whether the quirky adorable performance of Cameron Britton as Otto’s neighbor Jimmy or the inclusive performance by Mack Bayda as Malcolm we are treated to touching portrayals.  Tom Hanks busy 2022/23 may have bigger films or more exciting characters, but this movie has his best performance of this last crop of Hanksian cinema.

The heart of the story owes itself to two strong female performances.  Rachel Keller as Sonya is seen through flashbacks throughout the film showing the love story behind Otto.  Rachel’s understated performance is shot in a timeless quality that allows her emotional impact to resonate quite impressively in the film.  Mariana Trevino as Marisol is a legit FIND of a performance in the film.  If anyone commands the screen more than Tom Hanks its the tiny dynamo that is Trevino.  The tension, the love, the fear the emotional connection, is felt throughout the film and heightened around Trevino’s performance as Marisol.  The film is worth just watching Tom with Mariana!

Now add in a subtle yet powerful score by the great Thomas Newman and the crisp visual touch of Matthias Koenigswieser and Forster’s remake has a real cinematic punch.  A Man Named Otto might not mirror the award success of it’s predecessor but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worthy of such recognition.  This early 2023 gem is a film that will stick with you and has a chance to really impart true empathy.  All that from a story of a real grumpy old dude!

The film is in select theaters today with a full release next Friday January 13th.  #AManCalledOtto

A MAN CALLED OTTO

Directed by: Marc Forster

Written by: David Magee screenplay based of Fredrik Backman’s novel ‘A Man Called Ove’ and the film based from the novel made by Hannes Holm.

Rated: PG-13

Selig Rating: 4.5 Stars

Running Time: 2hr 6min

Drama / Comedy

Wide Release: Only in theaters January 6th

Starring: Tom Hanks, Mariana Treviño, Rachel Keller, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Truman Hanks, Mike Birbiglia

 

The Selig Rating Scale:

5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.

4 Stars – Good movie

3 Stars – OK movie

2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.

1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.

Mariana Treviño and Tom Hanks star in Columbia Pictures A MAN CALLED OTTO. photo by: Dennis Mong
Jimmy (Cameron Britton) jogs by Otto (Tom Hanks) in Columbia Pictures A MAN CALLED OTTO. Photo by: Niko Tavernise
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