As I have mentioned previously, I am trying to go to the cinema more often than usual, especially as so many award nominated movies emerge. Following my review of Empire Of Light, I decided to pop along to my local movie theatre and check out ‘A Man Called Otto’ today.
What Drew Me To This Character-Orientated Movie?
Tom Hanks was promoting ‘A Man Called Otto’ on the Graham Norton Show the other Friday when it first caught my imagination. Apparently an adaptation of a Swedish novel – ‘A Man Called Ove’ by Fredrik Backman – this story was about an older man who was rather miserable and full of spite. Some new neighbours moved into his street and tried to soften his character slightly. The premise was interesting and I knew Tom would portray the lead role brilliantly.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97% audience score
A Sweet Narrative
Otto had lost his wife recently and was pushed out of his job, taking a severance payout and entering retirement reluctantly. He lived in a street where the parking was protected and he made sure that only those with permits dared to park in his street.
The neighbours knew that he did his daily ‘rounds’ and tried to engage with him despite his sour mood. The reason for this grumpy attitude was exposed later in the story. Needless to say he had a fairly harrowing backstory.
A family moved in and started to offer him food parcels and company. Marisol (played by Mariana Travino) was superb as a chatty, pregnant neighbour who wouldn’t take no for an answer and was determined to bring a smile to his tired face.
While Otto was constantly trying to find ways to kill himself and join his wife beyond the grave, amusing circumstances disturbed his plans and kept him busy. Marisol worked hard at bringing some fun into his world and giving him something to care about.
A set of challenges faced by other neighbours made his life more difficult still. Otto’s narrative was wonderfully outlined by a good script and careful direction. Tom’s wife, Rita Wilson, persuaded him to make the movie version of the book and she also came on board as producer. Similarly his real-life son – Truman Hanks – who played a younger version of Otto, did a brilliant job. He was the spitting image of his famous father.
Things I liked about it
– Incredible acting by the lead actors
– A flowing storyline with carefully placed nuggets of information that enhanced the narrative.
– Clever direction with emotional flashbacks.
– It had moments of real humour.
In A Nutshell
I laughed and cried whilst watching this wonderful story unwind. Hanks was amazing in this role and Mariana deserves an Oscar for supporting actress too. In my opinion, it was really well written and the different elements fitted together superbly.
I would give this movie a five star review and totally recommend going to the cinema to see it. Now I will have to go and read the original book.
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