How ‘A Man Called Otto’ Adapted the Story for an American Audience

A Man Called Otto is a film adaptation of Fredrik Backman’s 2012 novel, with a different name for the protagonist than the 2015 movie version.

The film, which stars Tom Hanks as Otto, premiered in theaters in December 2022 and is now available on Netflix. It depicts Otto’s struggle with depression, retirement, and suicidal thoughts after losing his wife, and his eventual friendship with his new neighbor, Marisol.

How ‘A Man Called Otto’ Adapted the Story for an American Audience
A Man Called Otto

The film differs from the original movie in the title and the protagonist’s name to reflect the change of setting. The film relocates the story from Sweden to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and renames Ove to Otto, a more common name in the US.

Ove is a Swedish name that would not suit Hanks’ character or the American context and might have been mispronounced by the audience.

The film also changes the name and background of Ove’s neighbor, Parvaneh, who is an Iranian immigrant in the Swedish film and book. In A Man Called Otto, she becomes Marisol, a Mexican American woman. These changes are likely made to suit the American setting and to reflect the diversity of the US society.

A Man Called Otto follows the main plot of the Swedish film and the book, but it modifies some details to fit the US context. Otto did not attempt to join the military, but he had a heart condition that eventually killed him.

Unlike Ove, who died shortly after the film’s climax, Otto survived for three more years. The film also omits a flashback scene that shows how Otto’s father died in a train accident.

How ‘A Man Called Otto’ Adapted the Story for an American Audience
A Still from A Man from Otto

The film focuses on Otto’s relationship with his wife, Sonya, and does not show much of his other past experiences. Unlike Ove, who had a long history of resisting the demolition of his house, Otto does not face such a conflict.

The film also keeps the character’s interactions with his neighbors but makes Otto more friendly than Ove in the 2022 version.

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About A Man Called Otto

A Man Called Otto is a 2022 American comedy-drama film directed by Marc Forster from a screenplay by David Magee, about a bitter old man reluctantly getting involved in the lives of his neighbors.

It stars Tom Hanks in the title role, with Mariana Treviño, Rachel Keller, and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo in supporting roles. It is a remake of the 2015 Swedish film A Man Called Ove, which was based on the 2012 novel by Fredrik Backman. 

A Man Called Otto began a limited theatrical release on December 29, 2022, before a wide release in the United States on January 13, 2023. The film received generally favorable reviews from critics and has grossed $112 million worldwide on a $50 million budget.

Epic Dope Staff

Epic Dope Staff

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