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The Hollywood Insider A Man Named Otto, Tom Hanks Review

Photo: ‘A Man Named Otto’ 

Throughout his career, Tom Hanks has been a recognizable and loveable actor for many generations. From his voiceover work in animated films like the ‘Toy Story’ series and ‘The Polar Express’ to his work with prestigious directors such as Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg. Now he teams up with Marc Forster in the adaptation of the 2015 Swedish film, A Man Called Ove.’

Based on the Best-Selling Novel and Swedish Film

Not many people are aware that ‘A Man Named Otto’ is based on the Swedish author Fredrick Backman’s 2012 best-selling novel, “A Man Called Ove.”  Readers and book critics have loved its themes of overcoming the loss of a loved one. The novel advocates the message of a renewal perspective of moving forward in life. The book is achieved by blending comedy and tragedy together and having a universal theme that can apply to most people in life. The synopsis of the story describes a man named Ove who lives his life isolated. However, his routine of life gets startled one morning when he is introduced to a young couple and their two boisterous daughters. The audience appreciates the heartwarming story of unexpected friendship and the community’s surprise reconsideration of a complex individual. 

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Three years later, it became a Swedish film directed by Hannes Holm and starred Rolf Lassgard in the lead role. The film got nominated for two Oscars: one for Best Foreign Language film, and the other for Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling. It drew the attention of film buffs and audiences all over the world. Marc Forster decided to have his take on the American version with David Magee’s screenplay. This will be the second time that Marc Forster has used a written source from Magee since his 2004 movie, ‘Finding Neverland’, also based on adapted material. The writer is also famous for writing the Oscar-winning “Life of Pi” and “Mary Poppins Returns.” Director Marc Forster has even had experience with creating other heartwarming stories such as ‘The Kite Runner,’ and ‘Christopher Robin.’ Both movies are based on adapted material that appeals to younger audiences. This time, the American film will cater to a more universal crowd. 

‘A Man Named Otto’ – The 2022 American Adaptation

Everyone will appreciate the American version as much as the original version. Not only will Marc Forster be behind the camera, it will also be his first collaboration with Tom Hanks. What makes it even more interesting is the fact that Rita Wilson, Tom Hanks’ wife, will serve as the producer of the film. The other producer Fredkrick Wikström Nicastro is also on board since he believes that ‘A Man Called Ove’  is a universal story that relates heavily to any movie goer that will pay a ticket to see a grieving man change his perception of life after experiencing a loss of a loved one. He decided for Tom Hanks to take the opportunity to represent Otto in American form to remind the audiences again why the Ove character is very important. 

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Otto Anderson is a cranky man who has a negative viewpoint of life ever since his wife died and is also forced into retirement from a job he had kept for 40 years. This results in his attempt to commit suicide. However, his plan gets interrupted by new neighbors moving in. He now lives next door to a husband whom he considers as a “nitwit” (played by Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) and a quirky wife (played by Mariana Treviño) who is pregnant. They both raise two cute daughters, Abbie and Luna (played by Alessandra Perez and Christiana Montoya) which will win the audiences’ hearts. He may seem reluctant to them, but the audience will learn that the attempt of getting to know these new individuals, it will make the old man rethink his own dark viewpoint of life. Filmgoers will see how Otto will get involved in teaching a neighbor how to drive, spend some quality time with two adorable children, and learn to have a pet cat in company. 

In Conclusion

Director Mark Forster, screenwriter David Magee, actor Tom Hanks, and producer  Rita Wilson have made a loveable film that will re-invite us to the world of Ove, but with this American remake. The concept of overcoming grief is universally relatable to the viewers. It is the perfect movie to be released for the holidays. 

Despite the fact that most individuals celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas with their loved ones, there are also individuals who do not celebrate either one of them due to tragic reasons. Older generations who resonate with the older character will learn to strike up a conversation with neighbors and learn to be a socialite without being tied back by a deceased spouse. 

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This film will lift the viewer from depression and will have them walk out with a more optimistic viewpoint just like the character. The film isn’t about the art of moving on, it also supports the concept of community, and how people will come together due to a crisis. It’s not a sure thing if ‘A Man Called Otto’ will receive an Oscar nomination such as the original film, but it will have a positive reaction from its audiences and critics. 

By Marco Castaneda

Click here to read The Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s love letter to Cinema, TV and Media. An excerpt from the love letter: The Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, We have the space and time for all your stories, no matter who/what/where you are. Media/Cinema/TV have a responsibility to better the world and The Hollywood Insider will continue to do so. Talent, diversity and authenticity matter in Cinema/TV, media and storytelling. In fact, I reckon that we should announce “talent-diversity-authenticity-storytelling-Cinema-Oscars-Academy-Awards” as synonyms of each other. We show respect to talent and stories regardless of their skin color, race, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality, etc., thus allowing authenticity into this system just by something as simple as accepting and showing respect to the human species’ factual diversity. We become greater just by respecting and appreciating talent in all its shapes, sizes, and forms. Award winners, which includes nominees, must be chosen on the greatness of their talent ALONE.

I am sure I am speaking for a multitude of Cinema lovers all over the world when I speak of the following sentiments that this medium of art has blessed me with. Cinema taught me about our world, at times in English and at times through the beautiful one-inch bar of subtitles. I learned from the stories in the global movies that we are all alike across all borders. Remember that one of the best symbols of many great civilizations and their prosperity has been the art they have left behind. This art can be in the form of paintings, sculptures, architecture, writings, inventions, etc. For our modern society, Cinema happens to be one of them. Cinema is more than just a form of entertainment, it is an integral part of society. I love the world uniting, be it for Cinema, TV, media, art, fashion, sport, etc. Please keep this going full speed.

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Author

  • Marco Castaneda is a graduate student at the California State University, Los Angeles. He is currently pursuing his Master of Fine Arts Degree in Television, Film, and Theatre, and expects to graduate in the Spring of 2023. He has a strong passion for creating stories as well as reading them. Marco believes that art helps people to give a unique perspective of our lives and the lives of others. He is also currently a substitute teacher for K-12th grade and hopes to teach students how to use their creativity through all aspects and subjects of their lives and not to be afraid of using their talents.

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