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Casting Tom Hanks against type is by far the best decision the picture makes but it doesn't remove the distinct, sickly sweet vanilla flavour of A Man Called Otto.

I have seen the Swedish movie A Man Called Ove, about a curmudgeon pensioner who discover he has an oversized heart after all, but I can hardly remember anything about it. The odds are high that the same thing will happen to A Man Called Otto, the inevitable American remake that is as vanilla as feelgood movies tend to come.

Casting Tom Hanks in the lead role is by far the best decision the picture makes, as the actor at least is allowed to play pleasantly against type, even if the suicides he attempts every 15 minutes or so are far from believable.

The latter can also be said about the rest of the cast, who neatly tick all the diversity boxes. Loud, family-hugging Mexican? Check. Annoying real estate dick? Check. Insecure transgender youth? Double-check. All of them ram the wholesomeness down your throat, but even they aren’t the most grating part of A Man Called Otto.

That honour goes to the sickly sweet flashbacks including Hanks’ deceased wife. Even if they had the row behind me sobbing endlessly, they urged me mostly to locate the exit sign, yearning for an escape route.

release: 2022

director: Mark Forster

starring: Tom Hanks, Mariana Treviño, Truman Theodore, Rachel Keller


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