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Movie Review: A Man Called Otto

“It was all the clown’s fault.”

"This predictable, by-the-numbers, Hallmark wannabe movie has nothing new to offer"... is what I thought I'd be writing today, but — trust me — A Man Called Otto is an unforgettable experience that packs some serious punches.

We only went to see it because there was nothing else playing. Not an auspicious start. But we are in a movie drought, and the movie does look like one of Hallmark's warm and fuzzy routines.

The film opens with grumpy old Otto buying rope and not wanting to pay for six feet when he only needs five. Charming curmudgeon, right? Maybe. But it’s not long before he fashions that rope into a noose.

Otto tries to kill himself over and over, and it’s easy to see why. Behind the old grump is a man who’s suffered too much. Life has been hard on Otto, and in his position, anyone would want out. I immediately loved this movie for showing us that the grumpy guy next door probably has a good reason for his bad attitude.

But his neighbors won’t have it.

I know. This still sounds like a warm and fuzzy Hallmark rerun, but it grabs you with some powerful truths delivered by masterful film making. Folks, I don’t cry during movies, ever, but I don’t mind telling you that my theater obviously hadn’t been cleaned in a long time because I had to wipe dust from my eyes repeatedly while watching this one. OK? It was dusty in there. That’s all. Dust.

My only gripe is that A Man Called Otto sometimes feels like a really long car commercial. I don’t usually complain about product placement, movies have to get paid for somehow, but the story took a lot of breaks to show us the actors gushing over the interiors of their sponsor’s cars.

Corny as it sounds, it was very easy to be inspired by Otto. Maybe that’s because I share his medical condition, a heart that’s too big and could go boom at any second, or maybe it’s because I know how easy it is to push people away when I need them.

Judging by the reactions of the people around me, this movie hit everyone else just as hard, even those extraverted non-curmedgeons who introduce themselves to people and learn names. I guess we're all having a hard time.

So don’t underestimate A Man Called Otto, because it’s one of the finest movies I’ve ever seen.

Final Analysis: This nearly perfect movie succeeds where most inspirational films fail, but with too many car commercials. Four of out five idiot clowns.

Adam D. Jones is a writer, historian, and cat dad. He has never cried during a movie, and anyone who says otherwise is a stupid liar.


  1. Is anyone watching "You" and will it be reviewed ?

  2. I've been watching "You," but no one has yet offered to review it.

    1. How about The Last of Us?

    2. Anonymous, pretty much the same answer. We're an all volunteer reviewing army and we don't make money from this site, so we review what we like. I know The Last of Us is getting buzz and one of our writers might pick it up. Thanks for the suggestion -- suggestions always welcome.


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