Art & Entertainment

‘A Man Called Otto’ On Netflix Movie Review: Tom Hanks’ Impeccable Performance Of A Grumpy Old Man Is Oh-So-Relatable

‘A Man Called Otto’ has finally been released on Netflix. The film has had its fair share at the Oscars 2023. But is the Tom Hanks starrer worth your time? Or can you simply skip it? Read the full movie review to find out.

Advertisement

A Still From 'A Man Called Otto'
info_icon

‘A Man Called Otto’: Cast & Crew

Director: Marc Forster

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

Available On: Netflix

Duration: 2 Hours 6 Minutes

‘A Man Called Otto’: Story

Otto (Tom Hanks) is a grump who's given up on life following the loss of his wife and wants to end it all. When a young family moves in nearby, he meets his match in quick-witted Marisol (Mariana Treviño), leading to a friendship that will turn his world around. Will he leave away his grumpy ways of life? Will Marisol be able to finally bring a change in his life? Will Otto finally be able to find love? Or will he die a miserable death all by himself? Well, to know all that, you’ll have to watch the movie.

Advertisement

‘A Man Called Otto’: Performances

Tom Hanks leads with the entire weight of the film on his able shoulders. He looked his part to the T. His expressions and antics were so impeccable that you could actually see the character alive in front of you. For Indians, the character was quite a simple old grumpy man, who is present in every second household in India, but what’s astounding is that how easy Tom Hanks made the character look. He was that old society uncle who hates everything and everyone, but when you get to know the backstory, you realise that the uncle was actually quite a good person. Tom Hanks imbibed that character so skilfully that you didn’t see a Hollywood star, but saw a regular neighbourhood, grumpy uncle.

Advertisement

Mariana Treviño also comes up with a very relatable performance. As a Mexican woman, she is so perfect in her mannerisms. The way she becomes a pile-on, the way she starts thinking of him as a family member, the way she starts to care for Tom Hanks, the way she uses food to bring everyone together always – all the characteristics are so relatable in women from countries like Mexico and India. The character doesn’t feel alien and seems like you’ve not just seen but even met such similar characters in your day-to-day lives.

The rest of the supporting cast are all strikingly different from one another and add well to the story. However, there is no stand-out performance among them as such.

‘A Man Called Otto’: Script, Direction & Technical Aspects

David Magee has brilliantly adapted the screenplay from the Swedish novel ‘A Man Called Ove’ by Fredrik Backman and its subsequent Swedish film adaptation ‘A Man Called Ove’ by Hannes Holm. Magee has managed to keep the essence of the original story, therefore, you end up relating to the character so much. He hasn’t tried to make the character Americanised. Rather, he has set up the character in his old little township which pretty much keeps the essence of the original story intact.

Marc Forster’s direction makes an already relatable story reach out to a global audience. The character, who is a recluse, is trying to make effort now to change and the way Forster has shown how that change comes about in the character is smooth as high-quality silk. You wouldn’t even get to know but you will slowly start rooting for this old grumpy man whom you initially didn’t like that much. However, (Spoilers Ahead) Forster could have easily left the character open-ended after his brush at the hospital, but he decided to take it a notch higher and make the ending emotional, rather than keeping it a ‘happily ever after’. That’s a tough call to make as a director because you want to stay true to your original material as well as try to give the audience an experience that they cherish even when they leave the theatres. Probably, that’s one of the reasons why in the ending scene, you don’t see Tom Hanks’s face throughout when Mariana Treviño is weeping and simultaneously also reading a letter that’s left behind.

Advertisement

Matthias Koenigswieser’s cinematography is nothing to rave about. Some of the indoor shots could have been much well-lit. A lot of the shots are actually regular shots with not too much usage of new-age shooting techniques or camer angles. Probably it was a call taken in order to showcase the setting and the character as more lonesome.

Matt Chessé’s editing is to the point. Despite the film being slow, there is not a moment where the character of Tom Hanks is slowing down. And Chessé has managed to keep that enthusiasm going on till the very last shot. Even though the film is more than 2 hours, you’re not left bored or yawning at any juncture.

Advertisement

Thomas Newman’s music brings the setting alive. The story, set in a lonely part of town, also helps, but it is the depth in the subtle background score that makes you feel like you’re right in the middle of the hustle and bustle.

‘A Man Called Otto’: Can Kids Watch It?

Yes

Outlook’s Verdict

‘A Man Called Otto’ is Tom Hanks at his very best. It’s hard to believe that the man is almost 67 and is consistently coming up with brilliant performances like this. For the Indian eye, the story doesn’t have much to give, but it’s that relatability factor of the character Tom Hanks is playing which makes you want to experience the film. It’s indeed a film that can be watched Over And Over Again. I am going with 4 stars.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement