Entertainment Review: A Man Called Otto


  On January 13 of this year, the movie “A Man Called Otto” brought great success to the box office. The film directed by Marc Forster details a grumpy old man named Otto, who believes he has nothing left to live for.  He was forcibly retired, childless, his wife had recently passed, and he believed that nobody cared for him, nor did he care for anybody else.

  While you can see Otto’s blatant disregard for his own life, it is clear he cares for other lives, even complete strangers. He puts his own suicide on hold countless times, to help his new neighbors, one of his wife’s past students, and even jumped in front of a train.  He did so not to end his life as he had intended, but instead to save another elderly man who had fallen.

  Throughout these experiences, Otto begins to unknowingly build a new family around himself.  Consisting of his new neighbors and their children, past friends of his, and a former student, Marcus, who comes to live with Otto after being kicked out for being transgender by his father. He creates quite the extensive found family.  Otto ends up bringing in a stray cat that hung around the neighborhood, though he initially had absolutely no interest in doing so.  He is able to find new meaning in life through these people, and ends up dying peacefully of natural causes, with countless people who care for him, leaving all his possessions to his new  family and providing for them as best he can after his death.

  This film is based on the incredible novel “A Man Called Ove,” created by Swedish writer Fredrik Backman. Although the film and novel have slightly different titles, the storyline are remarkably similar. The novel was translated into English in 2013, and subsequently reached the New York Times Best Seller list, staying there for an impressive 42 weeks.  

  This film manages to be heartbreaking and heartwarming in the same breath, and may even make its viewers rethink the old grouch next door.