Sadness is a mysterious emotion. Unlike other individual emotions, grief is a mixture of every negative emotion imaginable—guilt, anger, pain, grief, and numbness combined to mentally torment its victim. Such is the plight of Otto, the protagonist A man called Ottosuffer and overcome.
In this movie based on the novel, A man called Oof By Frederick Bachmann, we are introduced to Otto Anderson (played by Tom Hanks), the man who sees the world without colour. It’s loud, loud and explosive. At first, Otto is portrayed as the grumpy old man with whom no one wants to be associated. However, beneath his weary layers is a grieving widower who is contemplating suicide so he can be reunited with his late wife.
Fortunately, as he is about to hang himself, he is disturbed by a cheerful pregnant woman who, with her reserved husband and two adorable children, has changed the course of Otto’s life. While this comedy-drama is a redemptive story about finding joy in life again, it also highlights the stark horror of despair, the importance of kindness, and the necessity of collective compassion toward everyone no matter what they communicate from the outside.
sting of loss
This drama unfolds simultaneously in the past and the present. His younger self, played by Hanks’ real-life son Truman Hanks, is the innocent and positive version of Otto. Just as we see an aging Otto go through a compensatory evolution at the end of the film, we see how the sweet Otto turns into the bitter one.
Otto’s driving force is his grief over his late wife and the child they did not have. Hanks’ brilliant performance as Otto demonstrates guilt and longing to carry on our departed loved one. So much so that we stagnate and forget to live, and even if or when we do, we project harm onto others as a coping mechanism and a way to seek help. In the first scene we see Otto buying rope, measuring the length and toughness with his fists and a pocket knife. A customer approaches him to ask if he needs help, but Otto responds by asking if he thinks he will “cut himself and bleed on the floor”.
Ironically, he uses the same rope to try to hang himself. This scenario proves how the bereaved cry for help under their middle outer bottom. It explains the difficulty of expressing grief, how easy it is to pretend not to need help, and how rewarding it is for each person to reach down and show a deeper concern, which Marisol does with a kind heart.
Marisol, played by Mariana Treviño, deserved an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress not only for her sharp performance that seamlessly jumps from Spanish to English, but also for the life lesson about empathy she conveys through her likable character. Marisol proves how far a friendly introduction can go complemented by a well prepared Pollo con mole. Despite being answered rudely, Marisol nonetheless gets her foot in the door of his house, choosing not to back down from Otto’s hostility. She doesn’t describe him as the grumpy old white guy in the neighborhood. Instead, Marisol treats Otto with sympathy and, more importantly, treats a human with flaws like everyone else.
Although she’s a mother dealing with the responsibility of two kids and another on the way, her selflessness shines through when she remains determined to understand Otto and be a part of his life. Her anxiety leads him to open and heal old wounds, and in exchange for Marisol’s kind gift, he gives Otto driving lessons. He nurses her children and presents her with the cradle he had originally built for his child. In the end, Otto generously left her a Chevy and more. Through their friendship and each character in the film, we learn that kindness is emotionally rewarding to the one who gives it as well as to the one who receives it.
Another example of kindness highlighted is when Otto lets Malcolm (Mac Beda), a teenage news salesman, break down the night after he reveals he has been kicked out of the house because of his new sexual identity. In each scene, just as the presence of loss is felt, it is accompanied by the need to show kindness by the heroes and every other character in a way that encourages the audience to do the same in the real world.
According to Psychology Today, no one wants to be a burden to anyone. We are so isolated in our worlds and our problems that it is hard to even know the name of the person who lives across the street from you.
A man called Otto And other films that make you feel happy, aiming to direct us to the importance of dialogue and friendships while giving practical methods to promote effective community life that elevate our life experiences as social animals. One such practical strategy appears in this comedy-drama: going out of one’s way to start conversations with our neighbors, especially those who act or seem to need less of it.
Interestingly, the climax of the story is Otto realizing his purpose in living again, and his first action is to prevent Robin and Anita from being kicked out of their home and into the care system. Otto devises a clever plan to ensure Robin stays at home under the care of his wife and friendly neighbors by trapping the system only to be feared by a live social media journalist. This in itself asks: at this point in society and culture, is the only thing keeping people from being fools a live camera recording their actions? At the same time, it begs: Is the presence of a camera the proper motivator to perform a heroic act of social media praise?
When Otto saves a man from being run over by a train, he doesn’t do it to spread or become a sensation among the average heroes. He did what was necessary when everyone else was taping another man in his slightest moment for social media content instead of being in the moment and lending a hand. These subplots show areas we can improve to build the society we want to live in — a world in which random acts of kindness or the actions of a huddled community are not rare occurrences we see in our newsfeeds, but everyday occurrences that don’t need camera coverage for validation.
From internet culture, retirement, loneliness, depression in the elderly, aging, the care industry, parenting, real estate, and every topic A man called Otto Touching succinctly, what this movie nails is its offering of kindness and community as a therapy for isolated community members who need hope to keep going, a reason to smile away, a purpose to see the next day, and a positive emotion to feel again. In addition to the film’s strengths, A man called Otto It is undoubtedly one of the best movies of 2023 so far. More importantly, it has earned a place among modern classics that explore the essence of life.