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Who's 'A Man Called Otto'?

Tom Hanks plays a grouch with a heart of gold in remake of Oscar-winning Swedish drama.

Got the chance to check out A Man Called Otto (2023) on Netflix. A remake of the Oscar-winning Swedish drama A Man Called Ove, it follows a cranky and unlikeable widow (Tom Hanks) whose life is disrupted with the arrival of a family who moves into his neighborhood. Despite his best efforts, Otto finds himself in an unlikely friendship with the mother of the family, Marisol (an excellent Mariana Trevino), and we start to gain insight into Otto's past, revealing the warmth under his tough exterior.

Story-wise, this is nothing new. What makes this movie a sufficiently worthwhile experience, though, are its performances, the gorgeous cinematography, and the non-showy direction by Marc Forster. Shot by the same DP who lensed Forster's Christopher Robin (2018), this film manages to make the most mundane details of Otto's life and environment look stunning. Hanks is perfectly believable as the titular character, a person who puts on airs of rudeness to keep everyone at arm's length. This is balanced out well by the aforementioned Trevino, who is plucky and persistent in her attempt to befriend her new neighbor, without quite crossing the line into being annoying.

I would like to see the original Swedish version of this to compare the two, but as is, this was a sufficient diversion for two hours. Grade: B

Note: As described in the MPA rating box, as well as the advisory warning on Netflix, this film does contain scenes of attempted suicide and self-harm, which could be triggering for some viewers.

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