In A man named Otto, Tom Hanks he plays a grumpy older man named Otto, who is kind of a jerk. He is a bit of a busy body. He lives on a quiet street in the Pittsburgh suburbs where everyone seems to know each other and where you need a parking permit in your window to park your car, otherwise someone (Otto) will notice. The older residents, Otto among them, have a bit of history. This doesn’t stop Otto from believing that everyone among them is something of a jerk. He is correct; everyone else is wrong. The wimps with their phones and their social networks. The young store clerks whose insistence on helping this older man find what he needs makes Otto feel that his intelligence is being insulted. The people who dump trash in a recycling bin, which Otto, a stickler whose daily routine consists of making his rounds and correcting his neighbors’ mistakes, strives to recover and dispose of properly in the proper place. Nothing seems to make him happy. A retirement party only reminds him that he felt bad about work to begin with. And he has no one; his personality makes this unsurprising, but still. Watching, you immediately jump from wondering where his family is to thinking that the lack of family may explain why he is the way he is.

A man named Otto it’s kinda funny like a Tom Hanks experiment. It clarifies something about his personality. This is the man who played Mister Rogers, who once worked to rescue Matt Damon from World War II with his dignity intact from him amid staggering violence. He is Mr. Reliable. apollo 13, Captain Phillips Y Stain it all rests on his strong moral backbone, a correctness that isn’t tempered by a short temper or the occasional stern look. Hanks is one of those actors who uses his severity with enough discernment to feel that he must have earned it. When he gets weird, it feels like a joke: weirdness doesn’t come naturally to him. So from time to time he plays with the unnatural. Grotesque, like the one we saw earlier this year in Elvis, where Hanks played the sleazy, bloated, carnivalesque manager to the King, is a feature that, in Hanks’ hands, only works (or tries to) because we know the actor is anything but. We know it’s fake, but he’s a movie star, one of the best and one of the last. When a movie star of this caliber hits a false note, we’re almost criminally willing to pretend it was on purpose. The convincing of Hank’s slippery and greasy turn on ElvisWhat Hanks clearly enjoys is that it would be hard to prove us wrong.

As Otto, Hanks plays an older asshole from the About Schmidt variety – a classic cogger. Or to keep him in the Hanksiverse, a man close to Jimmy Dugan, Mr. “You Don’t Cry In Baseball”: a jerk who’s ultimately not all that bad, the kind of man you never completely hate, even when he’s around. being obnoxious, because you’ve labeled him a sentimental convert from the start. Otto is particularly affectionate, in his own way, like a grumpy cat whose face you can’t help but kiss even though it hisses at you, because you somehow convince yourself that the cat doesn’t mean it, even when your scratches are bleeding. . This is how Otto is treated by his new younger neighbors, Marisol (Mariana Treviño) and Tommy (Manuel García-Rulfo) and his young children. They know they are getting on your nerves. They know they are calling in too many favors, making themselves too much a part of the life of a man who shows signs of not wanting to be bothered. What they don’t know is that Otto has given up his life; in fact, he was committed to committing suicide when they moved in across the street. What us What I do know is that a little too much love is exactly what the movie formula gods ordered.

A man named Otto is based on the 2012 novel A man named Ove by Fredrik Backman, which has already been adapted into a Swedish film of the same name. The movie is fine. Marc Forster basically knows what he’s got: a big star, a good script, a relatable story. Done. The flashbacks tell us more about who he is (there was a wife, after all!) and why he is the way he is. The minor incidents involving Otto and his neighbors and the conspiracy to reduce this grump to the big softy he really is climax in a stunning act of solidarity, the kind of move we shouldn’t have doubted Otto was. capable, because ultimately, he’s not an asshole because he enjoys it: it all stems from a deep sense of right and wrong. He’s a jerk, but he’s not unfair.

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The interesting thing is to think about what is and what is not the film. Otto has a gruffness that in the hands of another actor, say, Clint Eastwood, would easily have lent itself to a surly tough boomer, a grand torino anti-hero on the same path from asshole to reluctant hero as the Otto we’ve been given, but with an uncomfortable bite. A man named Otto he often feels like he’s about to give us a man who’s genuinely offensive, less of a mere jerk and more of a troublesome grandpa who’d be hard-pressed to get behind. But he strays like a virtuoso.

Maybe that’s what can make an ultimately middling movie like this feel fun: a likable cast of weirdos and friendly faces surround an expert Hanks as he does a familiar but intricate deuce, a dastardly dance in every way. the almost wrong but ultimately morally right directions. Everything is under his control. His anti-hero is all hero from the start. If anything, the movie almost overcompensates. The personalities in Hanks’ midst are clearly diverse, checking several boxes (Latino, black, trans, disabled, a wide range of ages) without, thankfully, feeling too cynically designed. Because Otto, as written, doesn’t reject that world, because he doesn’t name the trans youth on his doorstep, or spew racist crap at the new minorities moving into his neighborhood, we need to understand that as bad as he is. It seems as he is, if he doesn’t complain about these things, he can’t be that bad. But the Hanks of all that already talks about it. He doesn’t run the risk of looking like a bad man. His appeal is in convincing us that he is flawed and forgivable, simply as a man.

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