Published On: Fri, Jan 6th, 2023

A Man Called Otto review: Tom Hanks plays in a charming and life-affirming film | Films | Entertainment

A remake of 2015 Swedish comedy-drama A Man Called Ove is far safer ground for the actor they call “America’s Dad”. Hanks plays a retired curmudgeon called Otto who is planning his suicide after the death of his wife.

Early scenes play like a less edgy version of Jack Nicholson’s As Good As It Gets, as the old grump snarls at shop assistants and shoos away a hungry stray moggie while patrolling his street for parking infringements.

But, as this is Hanks, we are already looking for signs of a heart of gold.

He embarks on that inevitable road to redemption when a Mexican couple rent a house across the street. I can’t see Hanks stealing the Best Actor Oscar from his Elvis co-star Austin Butler but Mariana Trevino is my tip for Best Supporting Actress for her ­powerhouse performance as the feisty and heavily pregnant Marisol.

Immediately pegging her husband as an “idiot” (he kind of is, but a likeable one), Otto begins to help with chores around the house and finds himself an irascible surrogate uncle to her two young children.

It’s charming and life-affirming, if not quite as touching as the Swedish film. Hanks is an expert plucker of heartstrings but Rolf Lassgård is a far funnier grouch.

The flashbacks to the grump’s days as a young man also lack power, mostly due to a wooden turn from Hanks’s amateur actor son Truman.

This is a film about kindness, surrogate families and the importance of looking out for strangers.

In Hollywood, it seems, charity begins at home.

  • A Man Called Otto, Cert 12A, In cinemas now

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