A Man Named Otto hits US cinemas on January 13, 2023.
There is no getting around it. Otto (Tom Hanks) is old. We first met him at a local DIY store trying to buy some rope, and the results were hilariously weird. Imagine a rude old man who refuses to keep up with the times and takes it out on everyone around him. A man called Otto It is exactly…at least in the beginning. But you’ll soon find that it’s actually a movie that explores the bleak existence of an elderly man stuck in limbo – life after life where he’s lost his place in the world. Fortunately, it wasn’t long before he found a new one. While it’s quite a painful setup, it doesn’t bring much to the table, relying on old tropes and a simple plot to tell a good story about Hanks’ old grumbling.
When the Mendez family moves across the street, Marisol (Mariana Treviño), her husband Tommy (Manuel Garcia Rulfo), and their two daughters wreak havoc on Otto’s life. They’re the pesky, annoying neighbors who always want to borrow a wrench or need help with a window. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what happens next, as director Marc Forster uses nearly every cliche in the book to craft Otto’s life-changing outlook.
But let’s go back for a moment. Between tubs of cookies and requests for childcare, we learn that Otto is very sad. He lost his wife, Sonya (Rachel Keeler), less than a year ago, and is a shadow of the man he once was, who we learn about through liberal aiding in flashbacks. In some ways, it’s easy to compare A Man Called Otto to one of Hanks’ most iconic films – it’s essentially the anti-Forrest Gump movie.
Otto is definitely on the other end of the happiness spectrum, but he’s more than that. A Man Called Otto highlights the greatest blows in Otto’s life, but starts at the other end of the life he led. Through flashbacks, we learn why Otto is the way he is, as well as learn more about the love of his life… and exactly why she meant so much to him.
The problem is, there’s nothing really unique going on here. That’s not to say A Man Called Otto isn’t a decent enough movie – it tugs at the heart strings in all the right places, and you’ll be hard-pressed to walk out of the theater with a dry eye at the end. But it is not full of twists and turns. Quite the opposite. The final chapter is telegraphed from a million miles away, and it might sound a little familiar.
Based on the New York Times bestseller, A Man Called Otto does everything you’d expect…but a little more. Forrester does his best to bring some life to the proceedings in the form of some eccentric neighbors. Unfortunately, the double entenders of finding a new family and tired metaphors intertwine liberally throughout that distract from any originality you might find. There are even scenes of the literal changing of the seasons, to add to some not-so-subtle metaphors. yes.
Fortunately, Hanks is usually in good shape as Otto, adding an air of gravitas to what could be a surprisingly pedestrian role. Instead, Hanks walks a fine line between likable grouchiness and whimsical geriatrics, with plenty of his trademark heart thrown in for good measure. The debut performance of his son, Truman Hanks, was less impressive. Not that there’s anything wrong with his acting, but Truman suffers from a little bit of work with him — much of his role revolves around cooing over Otto’s young love life, making doe eyes on the pretty girl and following her, unerringly, wherever she may be. may go. Not exactly an actor’s wildest dream.
Still, it proves apt, at least… and with some exciting performances from Otto’s neighbors, the cast carries this decidedly unremarkable story on their capable shoulders. Throw in some genuinely funny moments in its unexpectedly standout script, and there are more than enough to make the movie worth watching.
Best movie of 2022