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Movie Review: A Man Called Otto (2023) *No Spoilers*

A Man Called Otto One Sheet.

In the tradition of grumpy old man learns a bit of compassion or gains a new lease on life films comes A Man Called Otto with Tom Hanks in the titular role.

Based on an internationally best selling book, after the death of his wife, Otto lives alone on a housing estate complex where he's somewhat taken on the role of unofficial rule enforcer and resident grumpy old man.

A few of the longer term residents seem to tolerate his grouchiness having known both him and his wife in better times. Now he's living his life with one foot in the grave until the arrival of his new neighbors, a young family, that draw him into their world.

Otto is the kind of grumpy most people can relate to. His beef is with life, fools, people who don't follow the rules, and anyone that drives the wrong brand of car (which is about as political as this film gets).

Unsurprisingly Tom Hanks is very good at playing 'grumpy' even if I wouldn't class his Otto as 'the grumpiest man in America'. Chances are you know someone like Otto. You might even be a bit of an Otto yourself.

His new neighbor Marisol (Mariana TreviƱo), the mother of the family that includes her husband, two young girls and one kid on the way, is something of a force of nature. She's completely prepared to see through Otto's gruff and blunt behaviour, recognizing there's probably more to him. Mariana is perfectly cast, giving a great, believable performance opposite Tom Hanks.

Essentially A Man Called Otto is a kind of feelgood movie of a story well told. It doesn't particularly stand out or break any new ground. Even though Tom is playing a little against type for what he's known for, he has played characters with some of Otto's traits before.

The film will make you laugh and also turns up the feels as you learn more about Otto's past. 

Speaking of which, other reviewers have mentioned there are a lot of flashbacks in the film - perhaps too many?

Personally I don't think so. They're kind of in the spirit of 'show, don't tell'. While maybe some flashbacks could have been reduced to exposition by Otto, so we'd get to see more how he recalls his memories, I didn't feel the number was too much.

Overall an enjoyable film. Though, maybe we need some balance with some grumpy old cat lady redemption stories. That could be a thing, right?


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