A Man Referred to as Otto assessment: Tom Hanks anchors a candy drama

A Man Referred to as Otto assessment: Tom Hanks anchors a candy drama
A Man Referred to as Otto assessment: Tom Hanks anchors a candy drama

“A Man Referred to as Otto is an easy drama that usually veers too far into sentimentality however is nonetheless steadily saved by Tom Hanks’ reliably charming lead efficiency.”


  • Tom Hanks’ transferring lead efficiency
  • Mariana Treviño’s breakout supporting efficiency
  • The movie’s surprisingly deadpan humorousness


  • A number of superfluous, overly candy flashbacks
  • Just a few poorly-placed needle drops
  • An inconsistent tone

A Man Referred to as Otto is the type of easy, inoffensive dramedy that was extremely widespread. These days, Hollywood appears much less and fewer curious about producing films like A Man Referred to as Otto, although, even through the end-of-the-year vacation season that has at all times appeared well-suited for middling-budget, family-friendly dramas prefer it. That reality doesn’t make A Man Referred to as Otto a very distinctive or boundary-pushing movie. It does, nonetheless, make it really feel like a relic from a distinct time.

That’s OK, as a result of Otto, as performed right here by Tom Hanks, is a little bit of a relic himself. Not solely is Hanks’ likable curmudgeon one of many oldest residents of his Midwest neighborhood when A Man Referred to as Otto begins, however he’s additionally determined to shuffle off this mortal coil as shortly and effectively as he can. After all, Otto isn’t practically as stone chilly as he makes himself out to be, neither is his want to die as unwavering as he claims. His path from embittered pessimist to renewed optimist is obvious from the second A Man Referred to as Otto begins, and the movie itself doesn’t have an excessive amount of to supply when it comes to ingenuity or originality.

The movie is, actually, precisely what any fairly well-versed moviegoer could anticipate it to be, however that doesn’t imply it’s with out its charms.

Mariana Treviño stands next to Tom Hanks in A Man Called Otto.
Niko Tavernise/Sony Photos

A Man Referred to as Otto is the second movie adaptation of Fredrik Backman’s 2012 novel,A Man Referred to as Ove, which was beforehand tailored as a Swedish-language film in 2015. Each Backman’s authentic novel and director Hannes Holm’s 2015 adaptation inform nearly the identical story as A Man Referred to as Otto. The brand new movie follows Hanks’ grumpy older man as his makes an attempt to finish his life are repeatedly interrupted by the sudden arrival of his latest neighbors, Marisol (a scene-stealing Mariana Treviño) and Tommy (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), in addition to their two plucky younger daughters.

It isn’t lengthy earlier than each Marisol and Tommy have inserted themselves into Otto’s life. In doing so, they open the door for Otto’s previous to be explored through a collection of usually saccharine flashbacks that supply glimpses into Otto’s marriage to Sonya (Rachel Keller), who died only a few months previous to Marisol and Tommy’s arrival. Sonya’s loss of life, mixed along with his pressured retirement, briefly however understandably render Otto tired of life. Luckily, his sudden friendship with Marisol offers Otto’s beforehand candy self the possibility to reemerge.

The movie’s story isn’t, by any means, a very authentic one. Marc Forster’s path and David Magee’s open-hearted screenplay don’t exit of their method to inject many new surprises or situations of structural invention into A Man Referred to as Otto, both. As an alternative, the movie is completely content material to rely solely on the dramatic power of its undeniably easy story and the performances given by its forged members.

Mariana Treviño shows a drawing to Tom Hanks in A Man Called Otto.
Niko Tavernise/Sony Photos

Fortunately, Forster’s instincts aren’t completely off base in A Man Referred to as Otto, a movie that has, amongst different issues, Tom Hanks going for it. As Otto, Hanks alternates between cartoonishly grumpy and understatedly sorrowful with the type of precision that solely a performer as skilled as him may muster. All through the movie, Forster successfully juxtaposes Hanks’ seasoned, unassuming presence with the live-wire vitality conjured by his scene-stealing co-star, Treviño. Collectively, Treviño and Hanks make for an infectiously likable duo.

The 2 stars’ chemistry is so good that A Man Referred to as Otto is usually at its finest every time it’s specializing in Marisol and Otto’s rising friendship. Otto’s relationships with a number of of his different neighbors, together with the endlessly joyful Jimmy (Cameron Britton), present the movie with moments of efficient humor and coronary heart as effectively. Nonetheless, whereas Hanks’ real-life son, Truman, makes for a plausible model of Otto’s youthful self, the flashbacks involving him and Keller’s Sonya are sometimes so one-note that they add little besides further minutes to A Man Referred to as Otto’s runtime.

Along with the movie’s superfluous flashbacks, Forster makes a handful of inventive errors all through A Man Referred to as Otto, together with one badly timed needle drop. Magee’s script additionally invests little time in establishing or exploring Mike Birbiglia’s unnamed actual property agent, who simply so occurs to be the closest factor the movie has to an antagonist. Altogether, these selections lead the movie towards a surprisingly lackluster climax. The movie itself additionally runs about 10 or quarter-hour longer than it ought to, which equally takes a number of the weight away from A Man Referred to as Otto’s in any other case bittersweet remaining moments.

A MAN CALLED OTTO – Official Trailer #2 (HD)

For all of its faults, although, A Man Referred to as Otto nonetheless succeeds solely on the facility of Hanks and Treviño’s performances. The movie isn’t, by any means, as cohesive or emotionally stirring as a lot of its crew members’ earlier efforts, however it’s a innocent and charming affair nonetheless. In the end, that’s simply one other method of claiming that A Man Referred to as Otto actually is rather like the family-friendly, end-of-the-year dramas that Hollywood used to yearly put out, the very best of which might be relied upon to produce sufficient laughs and heartwarming moments to justify their holiday-timed releases. A Man Referred to as Otto, for its half, does simply that.

A Man Referred to as Otto is taking part in in theaters now. 

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