Tom Hanks in A Man Called Otto.

This remake of A Man Called Ove is quite inferior to the Swedish original. The 2015 original had true heart and a surprisingly epic scope. This remake, with Tom Hanks in the central role of Otto, feels like a derivative sitcom despite some decent performances.

Hanks, in a performance far superior to his miserably bad turn in Elvis, plays a widower who’s just about done with this world after losing his wife. He’s suicidal, and he’s kind of nasty, yet his neighbors still find him amusing, as does a neighborhood cat. He is Tom Hanks, after all.

Will Otto’s heart soften? Will the cat become attached? This is a movie where everything goes according to the stereotypical plan. I’m guessing the producers figured that most viewers have not seen the original film, so there is little effort toward making this anything more than a half-hearted retread.

If you haven’t seen the original, you might find this film to be OK. Hanks is enjoyable enough, doing his version of Clint Eastwood’s crusty old guy in Gran Torino, minus the racism.

Truman Hanks does a fairly good job of playing a younger version of Otto in flashbacks, which makes sense, because he looks like a younger version of his dad.

The existence of this film is fairly inconsequential thanks to the existence of the superior original. That said, only seven or eight people in America saw A Man Called Ove, so most people will probably enjoy A Man Called Otto more than I did.

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  1. I concur – the original film (Ove) is FAR superior. I saw them both in the span of a week (Otto, then Ove) and there’s really no comparison.

  2. An obvious comparison isn’t between this and the original … but between this and Clint Eastwood’s ‘Gran Torino’ …

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