Otto Anderson (Tom Hanks) is a grumpy, rude, old man who’s lost the desire to live. His wife, Sonya (Rachel Keller), the love of his life, died six months ago and Otto has been forced into retirement. Seeing no reason to continue to live, Otto attempts suicide on several occasions, and by different means, but each time he fails for one reason or another.
When a young family moves in across the road, Otto is unprepared for the persistent and chatty Marisol (Mariana Travino), who manages to wedge her way into his life. Together with her husband, Tommy (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), and their two delightful daughters, Luna (Christiana Montoya) and Abbie (Alessandra Perez), Marisol brings new purpose and joy to Otto’s life.
A Man Called Otto has some violence. For example:
- Otto hangs a noose from the ceiling and attempts to hang himself. He kicks the table away from beneath his feet and is dangling for a while before the rope gives way.
- Otto throws a stone at a cat.
- Otto attempts suicide again by running a hose from the exhaust pipe of his car into the car window. The car fills with fumes but Marisol finds him in time.
- Otto threatens and harasses a clown.
- Otto plans to jump in front of a train but another man falls onto the tracks, having suffered a heart attack. Otto jumps down to save him and is about to stay on the track, when another man pulls him out.
- Otto pulls a driver out of a car and yells at him.
- Otto shouts at Marisol.
- Otto prepares a room with plastic curtains with the aim of shooting himself with a rifle. Otto remembers a lot of his life sitting in a chair with the rifle pointed at his chin. He is about to shoot when there is a loud knock at the door, distracting him and making him misfire the gun.
- In a flashback scene, Otto and his wife, Sonya, are in a bus crash. The bus lands on its side and people and debris are strewn everywhere.
- Otto gets into a fight with the head of the Housing Association, grabbing him by the neck.
A Man Called Otto has some sexual references. For example:
- Otto and Sonya hold hands and kiss. They marry and are shown in bed together.
- A young man, called Malcolm, stops Otto in the street to tell him how much Sonya had meant to him as his teacher. Malcolm had had a sex change and Sonya was accepting and kind to him.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
There’s no substance use in A Man Called Otto.
Nudity and sexual activity
There’s no nudity and sexual activity in A Man Called Otto.
The following products are displayed or used in A Man Called Otto: Toyota, Ford and Chevrolet cars.
A Man Called Otto has some coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
A Man Called Otto is a dark drama with some moments of light relief. It’s about a man who is ‘very bad at dying’, having unsuccessfully attempted suicide on many occasions. But Otto’s life is given new meaning when a young family moves in next door to him and manages to change his life. The movie is about love, life, loss and new hope. The suicide themes and content in the film make it unsuitable for children aged under 15 years and parental guidance is recommended for children aged 15.
The main messages from A Man Called Otto are that even when everything looks desperate there’s still hope, and we can find new meaning to life if we look for it.
Values in A Man Called Otto that you could reinforce with your children include persistence, kindness and hope.
A Man Called Otto could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like loneliness, mental health and suicide, including how to look after your mental health and where to go for help and support.