A Man Called Otto (Blu-ray)

Otto is a grump who's given up on life following the loss of his wife and wants to end it all. When a young family moves in nearby, he meets his match in quick-witted Marisol, leading to a friendship that will turn his world around.

March 13, 2023 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Tom Hanks has been at the point in his career where he doesn’t have to prove anything. He’s been there for a few decades, actually. He’s been in blockbusters, Best Picture-winning films and won back to back Oscars (for his roles in Philadelphia and Forrest Gump) back in the mid 90’s. And Hanks has made a name for himself playing the “everyman”, someone most folks can relate to. So it’s a bit of a head scratcher when he signed on to play Otto (as the front of the box describes it, the “grumpiest man in America.”). If you think of Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino, that’s a good indication of what his character is like. If you haven’t seen that movie – do. It’s good. A Man Called Otto is a remake of the 2015 Swedish film, A Man Called Ove. Similar to Force Majure and Downhill, this is simply the Americanized version of a foreign film. Are we ready for a grumpy Tom Hanks? Let’s find out.

Otto Anderson (Tom Hanks) is a widower who lives in his gated neighborhood. He’s the type who’ll scream at anyone who gets too close to said gate and life without his wife seems to have lost its meaning. He decides to hang himself, feeling that he’s nothing to live for. But before that can occur, he gets pulled into the lives of his neighbors: Marisol (Mariana Treviño) and Tommy (Manual Garcia-Rulfo) and their two daughters. Otto’s attempts to end his own life are hampered by the neediness of these two. Marisol in particular, seems to think that Otto is in pain and maybe he’s not the jerk that he pretends to be.

The film wasn’t quite the success that Sony thought it would be, but it did manage to rake in over $100 million at the worldwide box office, doubling its $50 million budget. This is, no doubt, due to Hanks’ name. I’m sure an Oscar nomination might have been hoped for as well. Sorry, Tom. At the end of the day, I enjoyed the performances but I think the casting was a bit too off. Yes, it’s unwise to bet against Tom Hanks, but sometimes you find a niche and go with it. But as I alluded to in the first sentence of this review – he’s got little to prove to anyone. We do find some redemptive qualities in both the character and the film itself, but it’s not the most uplifting thing to watch. Fans of Hanks will most likely clamor to it, but for the rest of us…he’s got plenty of other, more worthwhile films out there.

Video: How’s it look?

Sony’s transfers look good, but not an overly not spectacular transfer here. There are really no major issues I have, but it’s also not one of the better recent ones I’ve seen, either. Set in a nice, suburban area, we’re treated to plenty of strong details and background shots as scenes showcasing the neighborhood work well. Sharpness is good, but could be a bit better. Colors seemed accurate enough. All in all, the transfer satisfies, but never becomes a demo-worthy affair. The image is AVC encoded with a 1.85:1 ratio.

Audio: How’s it sound?

The DTS HD track seemed a bit restrained, but still satisfies well enough that it doesn’t become a major flaw. Vocals were fine and audible, but the action scenes didn’t have quite the impact I expected they would. Still, it works well enough that I can’t fault it too much.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Breaking The Rules: Making A Man Called Otto Go behind the scenes with the incredible cast and crew for an exploration of the filmmaking process that brought A Man Called Otto to the screen!
  • Music Video – ‘Til You’re Home
  • In The Studio With Rita Wilson & Sebastián Yatra – Go inside the recording studio with Rita Wilson and Sebastián Yatra as they discuss how the collaboration for the film’s hauntingly beautiful end credit song “‘Til You’re Home” came to life.
  • Deleted Scene -When Marisol needs a ride, Otto must make quick adjustments to his car.

The Bottom Line

Watching a Tom Hanks movie is like sex or pizza – even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good. Hanks and his everyman quality take the relatively mundane source material and give it some new life (though some will favor the original version). Sony’s disc is, as always, stunning to look at and we get a smattering of extras that might make this worth a purchase.

Disc Scores