Under normal circumstances, you’d expect Tom Hanks to be playing a really nice guy. The man hasn’t cultivated his personal brand as an all around sweetheart by playing the heel, but he does from time to time let himself break into those sorts of characters. While the upcoming movie A Man Called Otto isn’t exactly putting Hanks in the role of a total villain, he is playing a lovable grump, and it looks like an absolute tear jerker is on the way as a result.
The first trailer released by Columbia Pictures, with director Marc Forster's film, based on author Fredrik Backman’s A Man Called Ove, shifting the Swedish source material to the United States. Even with a change of venue and character name, Otto is still a grumpy widower who'd rather pick a fight than a flower. Naturally, the role gives Tom Hanks a chance to flex both his comedic and dramatic muscles.
It’s a workout that sees the Academy Award winning legend facing off against many forces that want to warm his heart in this upcoming dramedy. A family of lovely parents and precocious children was pretty much a given in A Man Called Otto’s formula of warmth; so that’s not particularly surprising. However, to pair that with a stubborn cat is basically what sends this whole thing over the edge and into territory that will definitely require Kleenex.
And then there’s the fact that your lead actor is none other than Tom Hanks. Coming off of a more out-of-the-box performance of villainy in Elvis, we’re returning to the more familiar ground we’d expect from his legendary canon of work. The man’s still got it, as even streaming movies like Finch have seen Hanks setting viewership records for platforms like Apple TV+.
That sort of star power is something people seem to doubt these days, as the concept of “the movie star” feels like it’s faded. Yet 2022 looks like it’s made some huge cases for that model still working out. Tom Cruise broke the bank with Top Gun: Maverick, and already George Clooney and Julia Roberts’ reunion for Ticket to Paradise has made a killing overseas.
Between the choice release date, and the warm story A Man Called Otto is about to tell, Tom Hanks might have a sleeper hit on his hands. It's a movie that looks to both push him outside of his usual wheelhouse, while borrowing the best parts from it. And if that wasn't enough to sell you on this movie, just remember that Tom Hanks gets to make friends with a cat, as well as fall into a fight with a clown. In a phase where Hanks can pick any role he wants, the man chose this movie; and for good reason.
A Man Called Otto looks to charm audiences, and awards voters, right down to their tears with a limited theatrical release at Christmas. The film’s wide release is set for January 13th, where grumpy Tom Hanks will have to fight against the second weekend of M3gan and her deadly dancing ways. Anyone else sensing a crossover?
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