A Man Called Otto
WHAT WE’RE WATCHING WITH WALTER WILLIAMS
The Producers of this film would like you to fall in love with the grumpiest man in America in “A Man Called Otto”…even though it’s a remake of a Swedish movie about their grumpiest old man based on the Fredrick Backman book, “A Man Called Ove”.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t fall for this movie, unashamedly, hook, line and sinker. I was expecting the usual something got lost in translation approach from the Americans and churned out sappy cinema, but it wasn’t. Sure it plays on your vulnerable human emotions and you’d have to be made of stone or even more cynical than me to not get the feels as the cool kids say. I admit that to date I haven’t read the book or seen the original Euro version that was the highest grossing foreign film of 2016 in the US, so I don’t have those reference points, but what I do know is the Hollywood version deals with some very contemporary issues of social media, transgender and unscrupulous property development well.
The story goes, despite being deposed as head of Body Corporate in his gated community (over a valid issue) our grumpy 60 something retiree Otto continues to watch over his neighbourhood with an iron fist. Checking the gates are closed to through traffic including slimy property developers, also sorting out parking permits and recycling bins on his daily rounds. When a pregnant new neighbour and her family (including dim witted husband and two gorgeous daughters) move into the house opposite Otto and a stray cat lands on his door step, it sets off a chain of events that changes his life for the better (mostly).
Tom Hanks is “Otto” and is brilliant in his own understated acting style. He’s got to be Oscar bait for this moving role.
Any lesser American actor could have turned this film into a schmaltzy, sugar coated affair. Otto will make you laugh, cry and sigh so pack some tissues.
“A Man Called Otto” is a beautiful love story retold in timely flashbacks from the present to the past that don’t jump all over the place like some movies do leaving you feeling disoriented. Hanks real life son, Truman, plays “Otto” in his youth.
As the movie progresses you learn where the pain comes from in his life as he opens up like a box of chocolates.
This is my first film review for 2023 and if the rest of this years flicks can be this damn fine I’ll be a happy camper.
“A Man Called Otto” has set the bar high for everything that follows.
This is a must see movie for anyone with a big heart.