Tom Hanks in the gripping remake – The Hollywood Reporter

poster for A man named Otto invites us to “fall in love with the grumpiest man in America.” But really, is there any doubt, since he’s played by Tom Hanks? Either way, the inevitable transition of the main character from a hot-tempered nerd to a lovable softie won’t create much suspense, as the film is a remake of the hit movie of the year. 2015 of Sweden The Man Called Ove, adapted from Fredrik Backman’s best-selling novel. Add to that the fact that you have Jimmy Stewart’s modern-day heiress in the lead, and you can pretty much predict every beat of the movie.

But that doesn’t make it any less interesting or touching, thanks to Hanks’ effectively effective redemption arc, narrative structure, and lasting appeal. Unlike the Swedish film’s lead actor, Rolf Lassgard, who was truly intimidating with his curt personality, Hanks was never really convincing in his portrayal of an often heartbroken, hostile widower. , who always brings the pain of his wife’s death out into the world. But you can sense how much he enjoys playing with his popular image, and you happily go along for the ride.

A man named Otto

Key point

Extract your heart effectively.

Release date: Friday, December 30
Cast: Tom Hanks, Mariana Trevino, Rachel Keller, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Truman Hanks, Mike Birbiglia
Manager: Marc Foster
Writer: David Magee

Rated PG-13, 2 hours 6 minutes

Set in an unnamed Rust Belt town that clearly had better days (filmed in Pittsburgh), this American version is directed by Marc Forster (Find the promised land) closely follows its Swedish predecessor in most respects. Otto, who was recently fired from his engineering manager job, mostly spends his time scowling and grumbling at anyone who recklessly crosses his path and enforces neighborhood rules. has his control gate, which is controlled by the property type. The company has a sly agent (Mike Birbiglia, in a role that makes little use of his comic talent) that would create a suitable villain in a Frank Capra movie.

Yes, Otto snapped, okay. He yelled at a young woman for letting her dog pee on his lawn, a delivery truck driver for illegally parking, a neighbor for exercising too hard in a tights killer and a feral cat appeared on his property. He is even willing to spend precious time arguing about being overcharged by 33 cents in a major hardware store. He doesn’t just live up to outsiders’ description of him as a “tough old bastard”. But we soon understood what was causing his despair, which led him to commit multiple failed suicides. He is childless and lonely, having just lost his beloved wife Sonya to cancer.

His humanity comes to the fore only during his frequent visits to her grave, where he makes it clear that he intends to join her soon. It is also revealed in a series of flashbacks to his younger days, in which young Otto (Truman Hanks, Tom’s son, has an uncanny resemblance to the old man) has a cute encounter. with Sonya (Rachel Keller, so adorable) as he gets on a train going in the opposite direction to return the book she dropped. We see the couple move into the house where middle-aged Otto still lives and make friends with their neighbors, then Sonya becomes pregnant and tragically loses her child in a bus accident that leaves her wheelchair.

As the movie progresses, you find yourself counting the minutes until Otto gets his soul back. It begins to happen with the arrival of a young family in the neighborhood, including the hot-tempered pregnant Marisol (Mariana Trevino, in a breakout performance), her clumsy husband (Manuel Garcia) – Rulf, The Magnificent Seven), and their two young daughters. At first, Otto opposes Marisol’s efforts to be kind-hearted, but eventually finds himself getting involved with his new neighbors in defiance of himself. You can feel his resistance melt as he takes the first bite of the delicious homemade meal she’s given him, though in the thank you note he can only be reluctant described the dish as “interesting”. But before long, he was babysitting adorable dogs and teaching Marisol how to drive.

Less convincing plot elements include Otto making headlines on social media after filming him rescuing an elderly man who’d fallen onto the train tracks. That allowed him to tap into his budding popularity as the real estate company tried to evict his longtime neighbors after they had serious health problems. It’s the kind of pompous plot arrangement that feels completely unnecessary, as if screenwriter David Magee doesn’t believe that the story of a grieving man regaining his will to live will carry enough emotional weight.

But it’s hard to mind too much, thanks to Hanks’ perfectly restrained, perfectly tempered acting — he’s literally moved when you feel Otto’s frost start to melt — and welcome moments of humor help ease the heavier aspects of the film. There is a particularly great moment when Otto enters the hospital after collapsing in the street and Marisol is soberly informed that his heart is “too big”. Instead of registering the alarm, she burst into hysterical laughter, with Otto having the grace to complete the joke.

even though A man named Otto never quite rises above its obvious intrigues, thankfully Forster employs a rather restrained and subtle approach. The result is a movie that you end up finding yourself unbearable even though you’re constantly aware that your heartbeat is embarrassingly manipulative.

full credit

Production company: Playtone, SF Studios, 2DUX², Columbia Pictures, Stage 6 Films, Artistic Films
Distributor: Sony Pictures Releasing
Actors: Tom Hanks, Mariana Trevino, Rachel Keller, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Truman Hanks, Mike Birbiglia
Directed by: Marc Foster
Screenwriter: David Magee
Producers: Fredrik Wikstrom Nicastro, Rita Wilson, Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman
Executive Producers: Marc Forster, Renee Wolfe, Louise Rosner, David Magee, Michael Porseryd, Tim King, Sudie Smyth, Steven Shareshian, Celia Costas, Neda Backman, Tor Jonasson
Director of Photography: Matthias Keonigswieser
Production Designer: Barbara Ling
Editor: Matt Chesse
Composer: Thomas Newman
Costume designer: Frank Fleming
Actors: Francine Maisler, Molly Rose

Rated PG-13, 2 hours 6 minutes


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