How Tom Hanks' Latest Is Faring With Critics

Audiences like 'A Man Called Otto' more
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2023 12:36 PM CST

Tom Hanks stars as a widower with a grudge against the world who has his eyes opened by community in A Man Called Otto, based on Hannes Holm's Oscar-nominated 2016 Swedish film A Man Called Ove, which was itself based on Fredrik Backman's 2012 novel of the same name. This version, from director Marc Forster and screenwriter David Magee, has a 69% rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, and a better 97% audience score. Here's what critics are saying:

  • "Hanks's innate warmth adds heart to this affecting depiction of longing for the past and finding purpose in the present," writes Thomas Floyd at the Washington Post, giving the film 2.5 stars out of 4. Though the decision to transform what was initially a "bleak dramedy" into "a cozy crowd-pleaser" leads to a few jarring moments, "there's something soothing about its wholehearted vision of the 'found' family and its virtues," he writes.
  • "Less after realism than it is a modern-day fable," the film is somewhat predictable, but "it does the trick for a little post-holidays heart-warming," writes the AP's Jake Coyle, who also gives the film 2.5 stars out of 4. "We know there are dark roads that Hanks just isn't going to go down, and some of the early, more caustic scenes of Forster's film strike a false note," he writes. But as the film progresses, "Hanks movingly tailors the role to himself."

  • "Forster's sweet spot seems to lie at the juncture of the sentimental and the strange, using unique story concepts as a way to explore existential themes, not shying away from the harsher aspects of humanity, but always finding a bright side," writes Katie Walsh at the Tribune News Service. She adds Mariana Treviño is "the standout" as Otto's neighbor Marisol, with "both actress and character proving to be the saving grace for this curmudgeonly fellow, and film."
  • But Kristy Puchko describes the film as "insulting" and "frankly idiotic." In eliminating much of the tragedy from the central character's backstory, it "refuses to get properly dark. And without that depth, the character arc for Otto is infuriatingly shallow," she writes at Mashable. It's "as if the healing power of community happens overnight or the soul-savaging weight of grief can be shed as easily as a winter coat."
(Read more movie review stories.)

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