Movie Review: A Man Called Otto (2022)

Synopsis: Grieving the loss of his wife, upset over the changes happening around him and angry at the world, Otto plans to kill himself. However, the task proves to be a lot harder than he thought and, as he reluctantly becomes acquainted with his new neighbor, Marisol, and her family, his life begins to slowly change.

Who's in it? The movie stars Tom HanksMariana Treviño, Rachel Keller, Cameron Britton and Mack Bayda.

Review: There is an old saying, "never judge a book by its cover." The same saying could also be "never judge a movie by its trailer," something that definitely applies to this film, which my wife and I finally had a chance to watch last night.

From the trailers, I thought this was going to be a classic Tom Hanks comedy. In fact, the whole reason I wanted to watch it is Otto seemed like the kind of guy I would aspire to be when I'm older, not afraid to speak his mind even if it makes him seem grumpy and unfriendly. Instead, this film turned out to be what I can only describe as an emotional roller coaster, with some funny parts (most of which were shown in the trailers) but a whole lot of seriousness and even somewhat depressing scenes too. Overall, however, we still loved it.

I think the thing that surprised me most about this movie was how Otto (Hanks) had so many more layers to him than first appeared. He was angry at the world, especially the developer building condos in his community, but he had good reasons to be. On the surface, he seemed unfriendly and uncaring yet, when the opportunity arose, he had no problem helping people (or animals) out, though it sometimes took some arm twisting from the very persistent Marisol (Treviño). Plus, while he had a whole lot of old-fashioned beliefs and values, he didn't seem to have any prejudices based on skin color or someone's sexual identity.

The love story between him and his wife, Sonya (Keller), as told through flashbacks, added a whole new element to the movie as well. It was easy to see how different he was when she was with him and eventually pieced together the subtle clues about what had happened, clues that included a baby crib, a wheelchair and a ramp. When his full story was revealed, it was admittedly hard not to tear up a bit.

I'm not so sure I liked the ending. I guess it fit the overall theme OK but with all the emotional ups and downs throughout, it kind of felt like a film that should have ended on a bit more on a happier note. Of course, I guess you could interpret it as a happy ending in some ways too, so I won't take any points away for it.

Final Opinion: If you're watching this movie believing it will be a comedy, you will be surprised to find it isn't. However, I also don't think you'll be disappointed.

My Grade: A


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