The first film in theaters this year that was actually released in the previous year was Tom Hanks’ A Man Called Otto. These films are the ones that are released in limited release in order to qualify for the Academy Awards consideration.
Otto (Tom Hanks) is a grumpy curmudgeon who has appointed himself as the authority within the community that he lives. Griping about cars going the wrong way on the street or recyclables not being in the proper containers, Otto is quick with his
snipe. The other residents of the community seem to take Otto well though.
When a new family moves into the area, including a pregnant mother named Marisol (Mariana Treviño) and a lovable doofus father named Tommy (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo). Their neediness guilts Otto to take his attention away from his own plans and forces him to give aid to the new family.
There was a definite amount of darkness in the story, especially in the background of Otto, which we experience in flashbacks with Tom Hanks real life son, Truman Hanks, playing a younger Otto. By the end of the film, you definitely know why Otto was such a snarky character.
A man Called Otto was absolutely a predictable film, but there is a lot of heart in it and a very entertaining film that had a surprising amount of darkness. I did not expect the film to start off where it did, but it made a lot of sense after we discovered the tragic past of Otto.
The best part of the film was the characters that interacted with Otto, especially Mariana Treviño, who had amazing chemistry with Hanks. The pairing was an exceptional father-daughter type vibe and they were remarkably entertaining together. Other characters really worked well with Hanks’ Otto too including Garcia-Rulfo, Cameron Britton as the eccentric neighbor Jimmy, Anita and Reuben (Juanita Jennings and Peter Lawson Jones), a couple who were once close friends, and Malcolm (Mack Bayda) a young student who was once in Otto’s wife’s class.
Speaking of Otto’s wife, Rachel Keller played Sonya in flashbacks and she appeared to be a shining light in every scene she was in.
Otto started out an unlikable character, but the film knew that the audience was not going to dislike him because Tom Hanks is so beloved. It was clear that the audience wanted to like Otto and gave him the benefit of the doubt because of who was playing the role.
A Man Called Otto was funny, filled with enjoyable characters and had its share of dark drama as well. Yes, the film’s story is fairly predictable and you can see where it is heading, but this is one of those occasions where the predictability is not a drawback and you just enjoy the ride.