A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
While movie deals with suicidal ideation and suicide attempts, ultimate message is that life has more to offer than we may think -- we just need to hang in there and be open to what it brings us. Cranky people likely have a painful reason behind their rude behavior. Themes of love, loss, compassion, finding family in unexpected places.
Positive Role Models
Marisol, an immigrant and mother, is persistent, caring, unapologetically herself. Neighbors, co-workers, and people Otto comes into contact with are remarkably patient and cheery despite his rude behavior.
Positive characters who are diverse in terms of age, gender, race, disability, and economics. Focus on issues related to aging, including forced retirement, loss, and health problems. Title character, director, and writer are all White men, but a Latino family is the heart of the film; the matriarch is a Mexican immigrant (played by Mexican actor Mariana Treviño) who frequently speaks in unsubtitled Spanish. Significant supporting characters with disabilities. Transgender character shares his struggle with family acceptance.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
Several suicide attempts (hanging, carbon monoxide poisoning, shooting, train) that fail in ways that are depicted as humorous; ultimately, the character comes to understand that life has much to offer him, and he has much to offer others. Vehicular accident with bodies strewn about; strong emotional consequences. Hostile but humorous behavior from main character toward small animals. Peril when a person falls onto railroad tracks. Road rage incident: driver pulled out of vehicle.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A married couple's love story is told from beginning to end in flashbacks. Kissing.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Strong language includes "bastard," "crap," "goddamn," "pr--ks," "s--t," "son of a bitch," "suck," and "what the hell." Cranky character calls people "idiots" and calls the neighborhood stray "stupid cat."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Recurring joke about men who identify with certain car brands, so vehicles are highlighted with close-ups on the ornament or logo.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Tom Hanks produced and stars in A Man Called Otto, an ultimately life-affirming dramedy that deals frankly with suicidal ideation. Adapted from Fredrik Backman's bestselling book and the Academy Award-nominated 2015 Swedish film A Man Called Ove, it centers on a man named Otto (Hanks), the epitome of the cranky "get off my lawn" type, who wants to end his life as a matter of efficiency. The movie presents a series of humorously interrupted attempts at his death via suicide (using a rope, asphyxiation, a gun, etc.), all of which lead to the point at which Otto realizes that, while his wife and career are gone, life can still be fulfilling. The movie encourages giving others grace, since you may not be aware of what they're going through. The residents in Otto's housing complex are diverse in terms of age, gender, race, economics, disability, and health, and they're the definition of "neighborly." Otto is counterbalanced by Marisol (Mariana Treviño), a positively portrayed Mexican immigrant mother of two who moves in across the street. In addition to Otto's attempts at ending his life, there's a road rage incident. Otto is impatient with others and calls them "idiots," "bastards," and "pr--ks." Other language includes "s--t" and "goddamn." Characters kiss. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
With this remarkably warm and fulfilling film, Hanks and director Marc Forster pull off the impossible: making a family-friendly suicide comedy. Even though the 2015 Swedish original starring Rolf Lassgård was quite successful, after watching A Man Called Otto, it feels impossible to picture anyone else in the starring role. Hanks' grumpy old man trumps all of those who came before him: Clint Eastwood, Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon, etc. He's so beloved that every rude thing he says is likely to make you laugh, and Forster smartly balances the crankiness by surrounding Otto with warmhearted souls who return his barbs with a knowing look and a smile: Yep, that's Otto! They don't take his mean streak to heart, and it allows viewers to go on the journey and care about him.
While we might understand that Otto "is something special," he's also the dark to the light that is Marisol (Mariana Treviño), the very pregnant woman who moves across the street from Otto. She's a flutter of radiant energy that just refuses to be pushed aside by Otto's hostility. And she's just one strong example of positive diverse representation in the film. The residents in Otto's townhouse complex represent "community" in every sense of the word: They're a family in their own unique way, with residents from all stages and walks of life who look out for each other in good times and bad. While Otto's suicide attempts do make the film too mature for younger children, it's a strong choice for movie night with teens and grandparents.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.