The Reel Review
A suicidal widower seeking to join his recently departed wife in death finds a new motivation to live after meeting some gregarious new neighbors, in this dramedy starring Tom Hanks. The film is an American remake of Sweden’s 2015 Oscar-nominated A Man Called Ove, which itself is based on Fredrik Backman’s 2012 best-selling novel.
What made A Man Called Ove so good was just how much of a petty, grudge-holding curmudgeon he was. Seeing the flashbacks of life experiences that hardened him made his evolution, learning to re-open his heart to others, all the more touching. This watered-down, overlong American version from writer David Magee (Life of Pi, Finding Neverland) modernizes the story with a social media journalist and and a transgender character, but sucks out all the original story’s edginess – and heart – resulting in a predictably bland, less emotional experience.
Even so, with ‘America’s Dad’ Tom Hanks in the lead and his youngest son Truman making his film debut as the younger Otto, director Marc Forster (The Kite Runner, Finding Neverland) still gives us plenty of tender, tearjerking moments. Mariana Treviño (Club de Cuervos) is the film’s standout, as Marisol, the kindhearted and quick-witted neighbor who refuses to give up on Otto. The closing credits song from Hanks’ wife Rita Wilson and Sebastián Yatra is a nice touch in this serviceable yet unnecessary remake to the better original.
• In one flashback scene Tom Hanks was digitally de-aged to make him appear in the mid-thirties.
• Tom Hanks has four children: two – Colin and Elizabeth – with the late actress Samantha Lewes, and two sons – Chet and Truman – with Rita Wilson, whom he married in 1988.
• If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, either call or text 988 in the United States, or visit www.findahelpline.com to find resources by country.
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