A Man Called Otto Reviews

A Man Called Otto review – formulaic but ​charming grumpy old man ​movie

Tom Hanks’s cranky widower may tread well-worn ground​, but the neighbourly kindness that saves him is life-affirming

Tom Hanks holding a cat and looking a bit grumpy

Tom Hanks, ‘uncharacteristically abrasive’ in A Man Called Otto. Photograph: Niko Tavernise

AHollywood remake of the glumly life-affirming 2015 Swedish box-office hit A Man Called Ove, which was itself based on a bestselling novel, A Man Called Otto taps into a seemingly unquenchable audience appetite for stories of cantankerous grumps redeemed by the healing embrace of community. The picture stars an uncharacteristically abrasive Tom Hanks as Otto, a short-fused widower who crankily micromanages everything in his street, and also his own multiple suicide attempts. The arrival of new neighbours – heavily pregnant Marisol (Mariana Treviño), her useless husband and their kids – interrupts Otto’s plans to rejoin his recently departed wife.

If there’s one thing even more attractive than the sweet embrace of death, it’s the opportunity to demonstrate the correct way of doing stuff. Everything from parallel parking to dishwasher maintenance falls under Otto’s self-appointed remit. It’s formulaic stuff that makes heavy weather of its flashbacks (Hanks’s son Truman struggles as the younger Otto). But just as Otto is worn down by the warmth and generosity of Marisol, so all but the most dogged of sceptics will be charmed by the message of the redemptive power of small acts of kindness and plastic containers full of tamales.

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