In a time when adult dramas struggle to make a profit, A Man Called Otto became one of the sleeper hits of 2023. In the film directed by Marc Forster, Tom Hanks stars as Otto Anderson, a grumpy widower struggling to cope after losing his wife six months prior. Having lost his will to live, Otto plans to kill himself. However, Otto is interrupted by his clever new neighbor, Marisol (Mariana Treviño). The two form an unlikely friendship, with Otto gaining a new lease on life.
Based on the 2012 novel by Fredrik Backman and the 2015 Swedish film A Man Called Ove, the Americanized A Man Called Otto won audiences over earlier this year, grossing an impressive $112 million worldwide against a $50 million budget. The film has only increased in popularity since its Netflix debut on May 6, as A Man Called Otto has remained in the top 10 for three weeks and counting. If you’re looking for more films about unexpected friendships that tug on the heartstrings, then watch these three movies.
Scent of a Woman (1992)
Michael Corleone in The Godfather trilogy might be Al Pacino’s greatest performance, but the role that gave him his only Oscar was Lt. Col. Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman. Frank is a loud, crotchety, and blind Vietnam War veteran. Charlie Simms (Chris O’Donnell) is a New England prep school student who dreams of attending Harvard. Frank’s niece hires Charlie to watch him over the Thanksgiving weekend. In return, Charlie will be paid enough money to buy a plane ticket home to the West Coast for Christmas.
Charlie, who does not come from wealth, willingly accepts. Frank brings Charlie to New York City, as the Colonel plans to have one final weekend of fun before committing suicide. Charlie starts to sympathize with Frank, while the Colonel admires the young man’s loyalty and moral compass. Come for an unlikely bond, stay for Pacino’s boisterous performance. Hoo-ah!
Watch Scent of a Woman on Starz.
About Schmidt (2002)
Any movie starring Jack Nicholson from 1969-2006 is worth your time, so 2002’s About Schmidt comes toward the tail end of his run. In his 12th and final Oscar-nominated role, Nicholson stars as Warren Schmidt, a recent retiree at a crossroads in his life. Schmidt worked as an actuary for a life insurance company, a job he perceived as important. Yet, the company pushes him to the side upon his retirement. To make matters worse, Helen (June Squibb), his wife of 42 years, tragically dies shortly after Schmidt purchases a Winnebago Adventurer motor home.
Desperate for purpose, Schmidt finds it in his daughter, Jeannie (Hope Davis), as he attempts to dissolve her impending nuptials to an idiot named Randall (Dermot Mulroney). Directed by Alexander Payne, About Schmidt follows the exploits of a man suffering from an existential crisis as he tries to find value in his life again.
Rent About Schmidt on YouTube, Apple, or Amazon Prime Video.
The Intern (2015)
Robert De Niro stars alongside Anne Hathaway in 2015’s The Intern, the warm dramedy from rom-com aficionado Nancy Meyers. De Niro plays Ben, a 70-year-old retiree and widower who applies for a senior internship at a fashion startup in Brooklyn. Ben wins the job and is assigned to work for the company’s workaholic CEO, Jules (Anne Hathaway).
Unlike A Man Called Otto, the roles are reversed, as the old widower breathes life into his younger counterpart, a stressed working professional with a struggling marriage. Ben becomes an informal father figure to Jules as he wins her over with his charm, compassion, and friendship. Although the happy ending is expected, the feel-good premise and innate chemistry between Hathaway and De Niro make The Intern a delightful viewing experience.
Watch The Intern on Hulu.