A Man Called Otto: a story of loss and life

A tale of how life happens in unexpected ways.

     Recently, there has been a plethora of heart-wrenching, tear-inducing movies that have been created; most modern ones featuring either the most dramatic sequences you will ever see or, for some reason, a dog. While many may be disappointed to hear that Otto is not a dog, but in fact a grumpy, old man, this movie is still a story that will leave you with tears in your eyes, a new perspective on life, and will be a pleasure to watch.

     When Otto is first introduced, he is irritated at imperfection, a trait that many might believe to be the cause of his grouchy attitude. While his annoyance may only be a piece of the equation, the main reason for his joyous demeanor is due to the loss of his wife Sonya, a woman who was a huge part of Otto’s daily affairs.

    Without Sonya, Otto loses his love for life, causing him to spiral into a depression, with the man going as far as attempting to end his life to be reunited with Sonya once again. On these occasions, the audience gets a glimpse into the love story of Sonya and Otto, and gets more context as to why Otto acts the way he does. The context of the scenes in pair with Tom Hanks’ acting abilities made the viewer able to sympathize and connect with his character on a deeper level.

     Along with the flashbacks, moments in which Otto interacts with his others around him can be further juxtaposed with the past events to make the experience memorable. While his wife and unborn child both unfortunately passed, Otto is able to relive those certain memories through those around him; like how Marisole, his pregnant neighbor,is much like Sonya and his wish to experience fatherhood is granted through moments with Marisole’s children and Malcolm, a former student of Sonya’s.

     Before the release of A Man Called Otto, the original New York Times bestselling book received a previous Swedish and Perisian adaptation by its original name A Man Called Ove in 2015. This adaptation was enjoyed by many, receiving  a Rotten Tomatoes score of 91%, unlike A Man Called Otto which only received a score of 69%,

     While A Man Called Otto may not be revolutionary or change the film industry as we know it, the film is still undeniably an enjoyable movie. Tom Hanks’ performance was well done, and displayed his character in a way that was true to his nature.

      Even though the movie was moving, at some points it felt forced. It was in some moments even cheesy, like the use of ballads during somber scenes and slow-motioned shots. For a story as interesting as this and such a great cast, it would have made the experience more enjoyable if there were more unique choices in how they portrayed it.

     If there’s one thing we can learn from Otto’s life, it’s that there is always something to live for, even if it is just a kind family next door. A Man Called Otto is a story of how life works in ways that are unexpected, and how kindness is an ever-giving entity that appears in unanticipated situations.


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