A Man Called Otto

Tom Hanks does grumpy in A Man Called Otto, the American remake of the Oscar-nominated Swedish film called A Man Called Ove from a few years back. Though certainly not the first actor who comes to mind for a role featuring the most cantankerous old man this side of Gran Torino’s Walt Kowalski, Hanks is probably the most capable of pulling it off. And, for the most part, he does. The twist of Hanks’ counter-programming plays quite nicely in this film about the good things that can happen when people learn to change.

"plagued by too many preposterously silly characters and far-fetched circumstances to overcome any goodwill earned"

Otto (Hanks) has given up on life after the death of his wife (which we learn through flashbacks). Less than a year without her in his life, and not quite able to reconcile his grief, Otto turns to anger and despair.

In the opening scenes, we see that anger play out in Otto’s behavior as he becomes a stickler for rules, and calling anyone who doesn’t follow them an idiot. “Why can’t people separate plastic from aluminum before putting it in the recycle bins,” he mumbles. Everything anyone else does or doesn’t do, is wrong. Even UPS drivers catch the old man’s wrath. He tells them they can’t use the private access road without a permit. “You know, the others guys don’t do it. The guys with the white trucks,” he grunts. “It’s always you brown guys.” Now that’s a funny throwback reference.

Alongside Otto’s obsession with turning chaos into order is a much darker thread that snakes its way through the film and the character, as we watch Otto attempt to take his own life over and over, each effort thwarted by those idiot new neighbors moving in across the street. Though the scenes are handled with humor, they feature a largely unseen side of Hanks.

Those new neighbors are Marisol (Mariana Treviño, Perfect Strangers), her “nitwit” husband Tommy (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Greyhound), and their two adorable children. Though initially thorns in his side, Marisol and her family begin to eventually warm Otto’s heart and even get the curmudgeonly old man to open up about his late wife. Something that not only helps Marisol begin to understand Otto, but that also nudges the widower to face his grief and learn to begin living again.

Any number of actors could pull off the crustier side of Otto, but few would be as believable as Hanks in the character’s transition from grumpy to just this side of pleasant. His ability to organically grow his Otto into something new and fresh – and to feel authentic while doing it – endears his character to an audience that has been beaten over the head with incessant grouchiness.A Man Called Otto

Another of the film’s wins is the chemistry on display between Treviño and Hanks. Otto’s downward spiral into hate and dismay is perfectly countered by Marisol’s perky demeanor and dogged determination to break through her neighbor’s hardened crust. She brings him ethnic dishes and delectable home-made treats which seem to soften the man’s heart, which we learn is ironically larger than normal (eye roll) due to a birth defect.

Treviño and Hanks get plenty of screen time together. We have director Marc Forster (Finding Neverland) and screenwriter David McGee (The Life of Pi) to thank for that as the film barely manages to stay above average when the two are not on screen together. They are that strong here.

Sadly, the remainder of the film is plagued by too many preposterously silly characters and far-fetched circumstances to overcome any goodwill earned from its middle act. Even the unnamed kitty cat that finds a way into Otto’s home – and his bed – isn’t enough to get across the film’s message that preaches nobody is alone if they just open up to others.

2/5 stars


A Man Called Otto

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Sony Pictures
Available on Blu-ray
- March 14, 2023
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH; French; Portuguese; Spanish
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1; Portuguese: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc; Digital Code Coupon
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Sony Pictures hits up hi-def fans with a nice little Blu-Ray + Digital Code edition of its Tom Hanks-driven dramedy A Man Called Otto.

Included in the blue eco-case are a single BD disc and a digital redemption coupon. On the disc are a handful of bonus features, including a making-of piece, a deleted scene, and more.


The 1080p 1.85:1 transfer is a good one that captures every detail with extraordinary clarity and brilliance that, while taking advantage of the hi-def format, remains true to the theatrical experience. By its nature, this is not necessarily a film that will push your home theater system to its limits, however, you will be hard pressed to find many flaws.


Though mostly dialogue driven, the English 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio track gives the film a cinematic immersiveness that always feels true and genuine. We experienced no clarity issues with the front-centered dialogue track, but there's just not much else going on in the perimeter to get too excited about. It's nicely handled but its simply not the type of film to tax your system.


Included on the blu-ray disc disc are a few bonus items that may be of interest to the film's fans. There is no DVD included.


  • None

Special Features:

  • Making of A Man Called Otto (08:45)

  • "Till You're Home" Music Video (03:07)

  • In the Studio With Rita Wilson & Sebastian Yatra

  • Deleted Scene (01:00)

  • Previews of upcoming Sony Picture releases

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 2/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

3/5 stars

Film Details

A Man Called Otto

MPAA Rating: PG-13.
126 mins
: Marc Forster
David Magee
Tom Hanks; John Higgins; Tony Bingham
: Comedy | Drama
Fall in love with the grumpiest man in America.
Memorable Movie Quote: "It’s always you brown guys."
Theatrical Distributor:
Sony Columbia
Official Site:
Release Date:
January 6, 2023
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
March 14, 2023
Synopsis: 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.


A Man Called Otto