After a four-year hiatus, Swiss filmmaker Marc Forster is back with another long feature titled A Man Called Otto. The upcoming movie is the Hollywood take on Fredrik Backman’s 2012 novel of the same name, which has already been adapted once in a 2015 Swedish movie. For the occasion, Forster will team up for the first time with Tom Hanks, who is also working as a producer. Recently, the 53-year-old director has also been working on the upcoming White Bird: A Wonder Story, a coming-of-age war drama that should have debuted in October 2022 before Lionsgate removed the film from its release schedule.
Here’s the list of the best Marc Forster movies to watch after A Man Called Otto.
Monster’s Ball (2001)
While Forster was born and raised in Europe, he showed an excellent understanding of the rural Georgia underside. In a complex drama about race and sex, Halle Berry portrays Leticia, a woman struggling to raise her son after her husband has been sentenced to death. Monster’s Ball also featured a powerful performance by Billy Bob Thornton as Hank Grotowski, a correction officer in a Georgia prison whose son (Heath Ledger) killed himself following a heated confrontation with his father. The movie was made with a limited $4 million budget and ended up grossing $45 million at the box office. Many critics consider Monster’s Ball Berry’s best actorial performance ever; proof is the Academy rewarding the actress with an Oscar for Best Actress. To date, Berry’s the first and only African-American woman to take home the award.
Finding Neverland (2004)
Finding Neverland was one of the most pleasant surprises of 2004, a little gem that enchanted and made cry critics and audiences alike. The movie loosely adapts the relationship between Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie (Johnny Deep) and the widow Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Kate Winslet) and her four young sons, a relationship that inspired Barrie to write a play titled “Peter Pan.” Finding Neverland piled up a plethora of Oscar nominations, including one for Deep as Best Actor. Ultimately, it won just the one for Best Original Score. The cast included Julie Christie, Radha Mitchell, Dustin Hoffman, and Freddie Highmore. Finding Neverland is also the reason why Forster didn’t direct Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, as he wanted to take a break from working with child actors, leaving the direction to Alfonso Cuarón.
Stranger than Fiction (2006)
Up to 2006, Forster proved he was excellent at directing dramas. With Stranger than Fiction, he also showed he had quite a personal touch in comedies. Stranger than Fiction wasn’t a huge commercial success, but it is still regarded as one of the best Marc Forster movies. Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) is an IRS agent who starts hearing voices after being assigned to a peculiar case, making him reevaluate his solitary life. Stranger than Fiction also starred Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, and Emma Thompson, among others. Generally, critics praised Ferrell’s performance as the quirky protagonist.
World War Z (2013)
The first time Forster dealt with some script issues was with 2008’s Quantum of Solace, which — although the director’s biggest box-office hit with more than $540 million — was hindered by the Hollywood writers’ strike from those days and is remembered as one of the weakest James Bond movies during Daniel Craig’s run as the titular spy. Years later, World War Z equally had some production-related issues that translated into a weak third act, criticized for diverging from the sourcebook by Max Brooks. Even so, World War Z offers some solid entertainment punctuated by a majestic performance by Brad Pitt. Briefly, the action-horror story follows the attempt of Gerry Lane (Pitt) to survive amidst a zombie apocalypse with his family. The cast included Mireille Enos, James Badge Dale, and Matthew Fox, among others.
Christopher Robin (2018)
In Christopher Robin, Forster perfectioned what he had already done in Finding Neverland. The story follows an adult looking for happiness through the evasion into the fantastic world he created as a child, populated by the likes of Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, and the remaining gang of the Hundred Acre Wood. Ewan McGregor portrayed the titular character created by A. A. Milne, with Hayley Atwell as Evelyn Robin. Jim Cummings and Brad Garrett were part of the voicing cast. Christopher Robin picked up an Oscar nomination for Best Visual Effects.