A Man Called Otto (2022) Ending, Explained & Themes Analyzed

A Man Called Otto

Tom Hanks’s latest movie, A Man Called Otto, is based on Fredrik Backman’s sensational book A Man Called Ove, which was a New York Times Best Seller. The movie is a little different from the book, aesthetically speaking, but nonetheless, the thematic essence remains intact. It’s an emotional roller coaster ride peppered with strong but quirky characters. Although, the primary subject sheds light on the loneliness elderly people go through.

A Man Called Otto is a comedy-drama that shows Tom Hanks‘ comical side while being a grumpy old man. He finds it hard to adapt to modern changes around him, he struggles to understand people’s obsession with social media and constantly keeps muttering the word “idiot.” It’s as if he can’t stand other people’s imperfections and expects everyone to follow his whims and commands. Although the movie doesn’t boost a groundbreaking plot or any twists and turns, Tom Hanks committed performance, and his banter with his neighbors will definitely ring true to our emotional self.

A Man Called Otto (2022) Plot Summary & Synopsis

Synopsis: A Man Called Otto is a tragicomedy drama that was first adapted on screen in 2015 as  A Man Called Ove.  It’s a story about an old widower who feels loneliness in his bone after the sad demise of his beloved wife. What forms the crux of the story of his constant attempt at suicide sabotaged by his lively new neighbor?

Otto Anderson is a grumpy widower who lives in suburban Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After losing his loving wife, he has turned into an ill-tempered grouch. He seems to be miffed with everything and everyone around him. He yells at his neighbors, the strangers who cross the road without a permit, and he even yells at the cat. He doesn’t understand his words could offend or hurt the other person, nor does he know how to adjust and let other people be.

Otto had a job, and he is retired. He isn’t amicable with his fellow colleagues either. He expresses his disappointment by claiming that he is being forced to leave the office. He also refuses to go on a holiday they arrange for him. Otto seems to be mad at the world itself and thus decides to leave the world for good until his plan is butchered by the arrival of a new family – Marisol & Tommy.

Who is Marisol?

Marisol in A Man Called Otto
A MAN CALLED OTTO – Mariana Trevino as Marisol

After coming back from his retirement party, Otto attempts a failed suicide until he notices someone is trying hard to park their car. He quickly runs out and yells at them that they cannot pass through or park on this street without an official permit.

The couple inside the car reveals that they are his new neighbors. A pregnant Marisol and her husband, Tommy. He asks them to come out and parks the car for them. He meets their two daughters. Marisol brings over a Mexican meal and introduces herself.

Marisol is a Mexican descendant who is full of life but clumsy and a mother of two beautiful daughters with a third child on her way. She constantly disturbs Otto at his house, despite Otto showing no interest. They form a love-hate relationship that sees a transition into an important relationship over the course of the movie.

Was Otto ever married?

After returning from his retirement party, during a flashback, it is revealed that Otto wanted to enlist himself in the Army but got rejected due to his hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. On his way back home, he fell in love with a fellow traveler, a beautiful schoolteacher Sonya. Their amour relationship became an integral part of Otto’s life.

He takes up engineering, and on the day of graduation, he asks Sonya if she would marry him. They get married and start their new life. However, their happiness is short-lived when they meet with a bus accident after returning from their trip to Niagra Falls. Sonya and Otto lose their unborn child & Sonya is paralyzed in an accident that completely shatters them.

Do Marisol and Otto become friends?

Marisol senses Otto’s loneliness and finds ways to talk to him and hang out with him. She asks Otto if he would teach her to drive. She learns about his life, and he gets along well with her. He even babysits her daughters. During this time, he also helps his neighbors Reubyn and Anita to save their home.

Despite his gruff nature, the neighbors always turn to him for help, and he always agrees to help them out. He even helps out the local transgender teen, Malcolm, who got kicked out of his home by his father. He even saves a man from a major train accident and becomes an internet sensation.

Why Dye & Merica is throwing people out of their homes?

The neighborhood Otto lives in is pretty clean, developed, and visually breathtaking. Dye & Merica wants to throw them all out to build big buildings and expensive condos. The real estate developer is looking for buyers who would buy out the owners of the old homes residing in Otto’s town.


Otto contacts the social media journalist who wants to interview him to save the old man. With her help, he interviews Reubyn’s son living in Japan and how he could decide whether or not his parents were in a condition to live in an old-age home. This scares Dye & Merica, and they let go of their plans.

A Man Called Otto (2022) Movie: Ending, Explained

A Man Called Otto

Why is Otto trying to kill himself?

Sonya was wheelchair-bound after the accident. His neighbors refused to adjust to accommodate her is what turned him into this mean old man. Furthermore, he hasn’t been able to let go of his wife’s death. He tries to kill himself on more than one occasion. None of his suicide attempts are successful.

Why does Otto let Malcolm into his home?

Malcolm reveals that he was actually Sonya’s student. She was very kind to him and asked her fellow teachers and the students in the school to accept his transgender identity. When his father kicks him out, he lands up at Otto’s door, asking if he could crash on his sofa. Otto agrees.

What happens after Otto dies?

Otto knows that his enlarged heart will give up anytime in the future. A year after Marisol’s baby is born, he is found dead in his room. He leaves Marisol a letter where he gives her all his possessions. He also gives everyone in the community something to remember him by. He wants a low-key funeral that his neighbors and friends could attend.

A Man Called Otto (2022) Movie: Themes Analyzed

Otto’s transformation after Sonya’s death

Tom Hanks & Kids in A Man Called Otto
Tom Hanks & Kids in A Man Called Otto

Otto was a fun-loving guy who had dinners with his neighbors when Sonya was alive. He had friends, and he used to hang out with them. But after Sonya’s death, he withdrew himself from any gathering. He avoided meeting people because he felt like there was no point in anything anymore. Sonya’s death hit him pretty hard.

Otto was mourning, and he was in a lot of pain. This is what drove him to kill himself. He has many failed suicide attempts. He only stopped them when he collapsed and had to be taken to the hospital, where his heart condition was revealed to Sonya. He knew he didn’t have a lot of time.

Otto and his loneliness

Otto is constantly annoyed with people’s mistakes and shortcomings. It’s as if he can’t stand anybody on earth and hates everyone. He is always seen muttering the word “idiots.” Otto’s anger is a defense mechanism. He is hiding a lot of pain, and he is constantly hurt inside.

When he is babysitting Marisol’s kids, he falls asleep while a book rests on his lap. The book is titled “I feel angry.” This shows how his character is hiding so much pain behind one emotion, which is anger. His huge-sized heart is another symbol of his giving nature. He has never said no to helping anyone.

The fact that his suicide attempts failed and his heart is what took him down, in the end, is ironic. His days during the end were numbered, and he spent them with his neighbors and Marisol’s family. He even built a baby crib for Marisol’s newborn son. In the end, Marisol dies and gets to live with his wife in the afterlife. His life was well-lived, and his neighbors remembered him fondly.

Also, Read: The Good Neighbor (2022) Movie Ending, Explained

A Man Called Otto (2022) Movie Links: IMDb Rotten Tomatoes
A Man Called Otto (2022) Movie Cast: Tom Hanks, Mariana Treviño, Rachel Keller
Where to watch A Man Called Otto
Simra Sadaf

Simra Sadaf has pursued her Master’s in English Literature. When she is not writing, she is watching movies and petting stray cats. Literature, art, and movies drive her spirit and words churn her soul.