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NOT SO CLOSE. In the halls

If there is an actor who can be considered the heir to the great American tradition, it is Tom Hanks, the most ductile, versatile, extrovert interpreter of the last thirty years. Good / yummy as Forrest Gump or naughty as Colonel Parker from Elvis. Hanks offers yet another version of himself in Not that close transforming himself into a handsome grouchy misanthrope who follows the Scrooge of Christmas Carol and curmudgeon charity Kurt Kowalski of Gran Turin Clint Eastwood’s senile masterpiece. Symbol of a generation aged with many mischief, stubbornly critical towards the new America, nostalgic for order and simple love: you and me, forever.
That love, for example, which united Mr. Otto with a palindrome name and his wife, equalizer of his whims. Then she died, struck down by cancer and since then he hasn’t rested remembering with burst flashbacks when they met on a train traveling to New York, he is a nerd and she is a promising studentand they have been together ever since.
He collected her books, today he gives in to early retirement but refuses the parting gift of colleagues and is overwhelmed by active solitude. Often moved, argues with neighbors for recycling. The neighborhood is falling apart, he repeats. Otto, artist of the phillips screwdriver, banishes unruly motoriststhink about cleaning the driveway in front of the garage from the snow and the tools with which to repair the car, spend afternoons at the cemetery talking to the tombstone of your loved one, make friends with a homosexual rider and, above all, studies how to commit suicide to achieve the lost good. There are three attempts, more amusing than dramatic, but to no avail.
In reality, the hardened Otto suffers from hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy: he has a big heart and not only in clinical terms. Are you always so obnoxious?. To save him a noisy Mexican family led by Marisol (Mariana Trevio Ortiz) who tempers her oddities and with some good food puts his life in order while he teaches her to drive. Funny portrait of a man who has lost in tune with the world around him, just as happens to an increasingly large slice of America in the face of wars and intolerance, Not that close a monumental tribute to Hanks, a giant when he wears that somewhat oblique, now moved expression that Otto uses to give himself authority.
Hanks’ wife Rita Wilson as always in the cast of producers, while director Marc Forsterwhich takes up an old Swedish film, starts from a story apparently closed in the residential agglomeration in which Otto lives to tell us about a post-pandemic America with a bitter taste, overwhelmed by guilt and intergenerational sadness. He doesn’t look for the tear-jerking detail, he seeks the truth by re-launching the theme of solidarity if anythinggood neighborliness, stubborn devotion to the ideals of youth.

NOT SO CLOSE by Marc Forster
(USA, 2023, duration 126′)
with Tom Hanks, Rachel Keller, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Mariana Trevino, Cameron Britten
Rating: *** out of 5
In the halls


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