A Man Called Otto: Tom Hanks Pulls at Our Heartstrings Again

Tom Hanks continues to be one of the hardest-working actors around, as he appears on our screens again in a movie called A Man Called Otto, based on a novel by Swedish writer Fredrik Backman. Does Hanks produce another memorable performance to add to his list of big-screen achievements or are his talents wasted in this movie?

Will Tom Hanks win an Oscar in 2024?

Will this movie win Hanks a major award such as the Oscar that he missed out on in 2023? The actor won accolades for his interpretation of Colonel Tom Parker in the Elvis movie by Baz Luhrmann, which is featured on this list by ExpressVPN of Oscar movies to consider watching. While Hanks wasn’t nominated for an individual award for Elvis, the movie was short-listed in the Best Picture category and Austin Butler was nominated as Best Actor for his role as Elvis Presley.

In this new film, Hanks acts as the lead character called Otto Anderson, a widower who has recently lost his wife Sonya and is contemplating committing suicide. The story is based on a 2012 book titled A Man Called Ove and a Swedish movie with the same name was released in 2015. In the Tom Hanks version, Otto is retired and lives in Pittsburgh, but it retains the original premise of a man who has become grumpy and intolerant of others.

Unhappy with his life following the death of Sonya a few months ago, he carries out various suicide attempts to no avail, while a series of flashbacks to his younger years show a different side to the grumpy character that we see in the present-day scenes. These flashbacks show how he and Sonya formed a bond and contrast with his current personality as someone who appears to hate people.   

Hanks is the main star and he’s joined in the cast by Rachel Keller as Sonya and Mariana Treviño as his current neighbor, Marisol. Tom’s real-life son, Truman, plays the younger version of Otto. Another important role has gone to Mack Bayda, who plays transgender teenager Malcolm and tells Otto that Sonya was his teacher and one of the few people he’s met who accepted him as he was.

Mixed Reviews and A Successful Box Office Run

This movie was initially released on a limited basis at the end of 2022, before getting a wider theatrical release in January. Reviews have been pretty good, although the IGN review called it a little too formulaic and relied too much on clichés, despite pulling on the audience’s heartstrings at some points.

A Man Called Otto did well to earn over $108 million at box offices around the planet, passing the projected figures comfortably. This Variety article was written when it passed $100 million and pointed out the importance of passing this milestone in the modern movie market. It has since been released in DVD and Blu-Ray formats. A Man Called Otto can now be seen on streaming services such as Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, and Redbox.

This movie perhaps lacks the depth and originality needed for it to win any major awards such as an Oscar, but it will certainly be added to the list of impressively varied performances from Tom Hanks, who is still one of the most popular and compelling actors in the business.