A MAN CALLED OTTO stars Tom Hanks as a grumpy old man grieving his beloved wife’s death. When a Latino family moves next door, Otto notices they aren’t following the rules. However, when he goes to confront them, they ask for help. They turn out to be a family that won’t let Otto be unnoticed. Marisol, the feisty wife and mother, knocks on his door often, asks for help or gives him food. Even so, Otto keeps trying to commit suicide to be with his wife. His attempts end in comic failure. Slowly, Marisol breaks down Otto’s self-imposed defenses.
A MAN CALLED OTTO is very entertaining, well-acted and heartwarming. It has a strong morally uplifting, redemptive message of love thy neighbor. However, this positive message is undermined and diluted by a Romantic, politically correct content that’s gratuitous. For example, an environmentalist message undermines the sympathy the movie builds up for the death of Otto’s wife. Also, the movie has preaches a political message about transgenderism and also visually shows attempts of suicide.
(BB, C, RoRo, PCPC, E, Ab, HoHo, LLL, V, M):
Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Strong moral worldview promoting love thy neighbor, with some redemptive content that includes a short scene set in a church with a priest, but marred by Romantic, politically correct elements that undermine or dilute the movie’s positive messages, which include some light environmentalism and a hateful comment that mocks parents who oppose their children getting transgender body mutilations (the movie falsely softens and supports such mutilations)
17 obscenities, two GD profanities, 12 light profanities (such as MG or OG)
Title character tries to commit suicide several times and is interrupted or the attempt fails (this is sometimes treated comically; for example, in one attempt, the rope he attached to his ceiling comes undone from the ceiling, and he falls)
No alcohol use
Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
No smoking or drugs; and,
Grieving man often calls people idiots, but neighborly love transforms his character for the better.
A MAN CALLED OTTO stars Tom Hanks as a grumpy senior citizen grieving his beloved wife’s death whose attempts to commit suicide are interrupted by the needs and compassion of the Latino wife and mother whose family moves next door to him and transforms his life. A MAN CALLED OTTO is an entertaining, well-acted and heartwarming, with a strong message of love thy neighbor, but it’s undone by a theme depicting attempts of suicide and transgender political commentary directed towards teenagers.
As the movie opens, Otto is deeply depressed over the loss of his wife. Every day Otto tries to keep things in order on his street, including making sure the street gate is closed and that people are using their parking permits correctly. He’s become a bit of a grump at everyone with whom he interacts. One day, he decides that he would like to be with his wife, Sonya, and tries to commit suicide by hanging a rope to the ceiling. The rope ends up breaking, and he falls instead of dying.
At the same time, Otto sees an Hispanic family trying to parallel park their car and decides to go out and tell them they are doing it all wrong. The family consists of a feisty, pregnant mother, Marisol, her husband and two cute little girls.
Marisol is spunky and friendly and doesn’t let Otto go unnoticed. She decides to bring him food, to thank him, and asks for some tools for fixing the house. Even unintentionally, Otto starts to find some purpose in the midst of his grief, through the needs of helping his neighbors. Though this is the case, Otto still tries to take his own life, thinking if he does so he will be with his wife Sonya in Heaven.
Meanwhile, some flashbacks show how Otto met his wife and fell in love.
A MAN CALL OTTO is a well-made, entertaining movie with many heartwarming moments. Despite the movie’s references to attempted suicide, it has a morally uplifting message of love thy neighbor. Tom Hanks once again does a great job in the role he’s playing. Also, Mariana Trevino plays the character of Marisol exceptionally well. The supporting cast adds some additional flair.
However, some of the movie’s messaging seems to be for the pure purpose of preaching a political agenda. It comes off as extraneous and gratuitous, as well as dilutes the purity of the love thy neighbor message. At one point, Otto learns that a young man delivering newspapers is actually transgender. The young man, who has a light five o’clock shadow, tells Otto his transgender status when he comes to Otto asking to stay at Otto’s place because his father has kicked him out of the house. Otto tells him that his father is “an idiot.” So, the young man starts staying at Otto’s house, and they become good friends. This implies all who do not support their children making a drastic decision of transition is an “idiot”.
Finally, A MAN CALLED OTTO has about 30 obscenities and profanities. Also, Otto tries to commit suicide multiple times, and viewers see how he’s trying to do it. Suicide is a very tricky thing to display in a visual way, because studies show people who are themselves dealing with depressive and suicidal thoughts may see the steps taken in a movie and may be influenced.
So, ultimately, media-wise, sensitive moviegoers will find the movie unacceptable, despite its positive, heartwarming content.
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