For how long do you hold on to grief? For how long do you decide to not live? Is it even humanly possible to continue living by giving up on life? Are there really forces beyond your knowledge that takes care of you and your life? No one can answer these questions but here’s an excellent movie that tells you a story where you are forced to find the answers yourself.
A Man Called Otto is a beautiful story of a frustrated and grumpy old man who is repeatedly trying to kill himself after his wife’s demise. He lives in a colony where the couple moved while they were young and have been friends since then. While there has been a fallout with a couple who were once Otto Anderson and his wife’s best friends, others are trying to help Otto come out of loneliness – sometimes, by inviting him over for lunch and at other times, by joining him or simply waving at him while on a morning walk.
To tell you more about the kind of person Otto is, he wanted to join the military when he was young but unfortunately was rejected due to his diagnosis of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. But his discipline is still that of a military man. He hates it when people break the rules and often gets into a fight when someone in his community keeps the gates open. He has just retired by choice as the company, after merger, made Otto’s junior, his senior. Joblessness further worsens his grief and as he cannot forget his wife, he decides to end his life.
Right when he is all set to hang himself, he sees a couple from the window who is trying to park but instead, is creating a ruckus. Being the man of principles and ‘discipling,’ Otto steps out of the house and takes matters in his own hands and parks the couple’s vehicle. That is when Marisol and husband decide to befriend their neighbour, Otto. While he keeps shooing them away, Marisol is adamant on making this man behave. A young, pregnant woman is always asking him for some kind of help, interrupting his suicide at times. While he becomes a father figure for her, Otto, though feels a connection with her, treats her rudely, mist of the time. Unbothered, she still asks for favours and is always ready to help.
A Man Called Otto’s highlight is Otto’s bond with Marisol. After all hope is lost, he finds a family he never had in this young pregnant woman and her family, especially her two children and an unborn child. As time passes, we see how Otto wants Marisol to be independent. He is the one who takes the initiative and teaches her how to drive so that she doesn’t have to depend on anyone in life to take her to places. With time, the two grow close as Otto confides in Marisol and slowly starts healing. As more time passes, Otto slowly gets back to normal, especially after helping his close friends retain their home.
This movie, though come across as slow, is a wonderful tale of loss of a loved one, holding on to grief, looking at life from a different perspective after all is lost, finding meaning, and then finding your tribe, again. If the plot makes you think that it’s a tear-jerker then do not worry about it because it is not. It’s topped with humour.
If you follow spirituality and is someone who looks at life beyond life and death then there are various elements here that frequently talk about forces at play that are invisible and unknown to you. How your life is not yours alone to decide whether you want to continue or call it quits. There are people who need you and in the process – while falling in and out of love with lives around you, you have lessons to learn. You have lessons to teach as well. You are here to change lives, for better. You are here to rescue and be rescued. You cannot take this journey alone, no matter how badly you want it to be that way. Your tribe will find you, save you, and make you fall in love with life right when you are ready to give up on it.
Make sure you learn to live while you still have time on earth. Life is a limited edition.
P.S: Mariana Treviño as Marisol is a treat to watch. What a performance!