Review: “A Man Called Otto”


The Catalyst / Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures

Actor Tom Hanks starred as Otto Anderson in the newly released film.

On January 13, Sony Pictures released “A Man Called Otto” in the United States. The picture follows the storyline of an unhappy widower, Otto, played by Tom Hanks. He has lost motivation in life, until a family of four moves in across the street. Marisol, the mother of the new neighboring family, is a joyful pregnant woman who builds a relationship with Otto — leaving his life changed for the better.

The film is based on the novel, “A Man Called Ove”, written by Swedish writer Fredrik Backman and published in 2012. This creation of an American film adaptation of the book has inspired many to read it.

Despite the main setting throughout the film being Otto’s neighborhood, the comedy had many unexpectedly interesting aspects to the plot.

In the production, a unique character was Malcolm, a transgender teenager. He was kicked out of his house because of his sexual identity, but Otto allowed Malcolm to stay with him during this time. It is especially notable to see representation of the LGBTQ+ community in this movie, which is being played in theaters all across America. Tom Hanks is a widely loved actor and his kindness toward a transgender teenager could have a positive influence on how people in that community are treated.

Overall, the film was very relatable for all age demographics. It was especially relatable to teenagers when Otto did a heroic action, which consequently went viral on social media. It went viral in the form of a reel, which was comedic to high schoolers who use social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. Furthermore, many can relate to having at least one of the various types of neighbors featured throughout the movie.

What was not depicted in the previews was Otto’s troubles with mental health. This was unexpected because one would imagine a person of his age to be content with his life and retirement. But rather, Otto lost his sense of purpose without his wife. The turmoil caused by his forced retirement led him to have disturbing thoughts and made the film difficult to watch at times.

Throughout the movie, viewers feel many contrasting emotions that it is difficult to name a genre to fit this film. It is a comedy, but at times it is also a drama because of how deep and emotional it gets. In other moments, it feels as if it were a romance when viewers rewatch Otto’s relationship with his late wife.

Despite acquiring mixed reviews from the public, there were many powerful messages to be taken away and was loved by The Catalyst.