A Man Called Otto 2023 Review: a film about love, loss, and finding reasons to live again

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A Man Called Otto 2023 Review

Director: Marc Forster

Starring: Tom Hanks, Mariana Treviño, Rachel Keller, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Truman Hanks, Mike Birbiglia

Adapted from: A Man Called Ove

Music by: Thomas Newman


When a lively young family moves in next door, grumpy widower Otto Anderson meets his match in a quick-witted, pregnant woman named Marisol, leading to an unlikely friendship that turns his world upside down.

A Man Called Otto 2023 Review:

A Man Called Otto is a solid, moving film about grief and healing. It’s also one of the better Tom Hanks films. Hanks plays Otto Anderson, freshly widowed and so consumed by sorrow all he can be is hostile. Otto is also the unfortunate owner of a big heart, an organ that effectively drives the plot.

Otto is the self-anointed lord of a small development in a cul de sac he polices to the exclusion of wildlife, intimidating delivery people and insulting neighbors. But Otto is talented, a Mr. Fixit with an aptitude for instruction.

Marooned by the loss of his wife, and further marginalized by forced retirement, Otto turns suicidal. But neighbors come to the rescue, particularly when a young family moves in.

A Man Called Otto 2023 Review
A Man Called Otto 2023 Review

Impervious to his grumpiness, their helplessness and affection begin to chip away at Otto’s withdrawal. So does a grey cat Otto at first wants to kick to the curb … but not so fast.

The movie is shamelessly sentimental. You know its trajectory from the start, and you’ll likely figure out how it will end, but what a pleasure along the way.

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Hanks paces his expressiveness to maximum emotional effect, meeting his match in his contrapuntal, accelerating relationship with Marisol, the young, pregnant woman who moves in across the street with her husband and daughters.

The Mexican actress Mariana Trevino as Marisol is a force of nature. Warm, persistent, and generous, she thaws Otto, even as he teaches her how to drive.

And the flashbacks to the start of Otto’s relationship with his wife-to-be Sonya, the color in his black-and-white life, are evocative, but a subplot involving real estate cheating is a bit opaque. Social media play an intriguing, positive role.

While Hanks and Trevino dominate the acting, Hanks’s son Truman portrays young Otto convincingly, Mack Bayda worms his way into your heart as the trans boy Malcolm, and Cleveland’s Peter Lawson Jones does a nice turn as Otto’s neighbor and car competitor.

A Man Called Otto Review
A Man Called Otto 2023 Review

The movie, just this side of bittersweet, feels earned. Based on Fredrik Backman’s 2015 novel A Man Called Ove, it’s a character-driven film with a strong narrative and uplifting message.

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I was really surprised by how much I loved this movie. Don’t get me wrong, I have always been a huge Tom Hanks fan but I expected to sit through a grumpy old man movie. A man named Otto was so not that.

It is really cleverly filmed as it moves effortlessly through different time periods, Hanks masterfully shows us a range of emotions both comedic and dramatic. The supporting cast is excellent.

Verdict: A Man Called Otto 2023 Review

The story is so real and relevant that you are quickly moved to check on your parents/grandparents. I cannot recommend it more highly to those looking to ‘feel’ something from a movie and to be reminded about what is truly important. People!


Raj Shekar

“I would travel down to hell and wrestle a film away from the devil if it was necessary.” “when people ask me if I went to film school I tell them, ‘no, I went to films’.”