|About Schmidt Released 2002; O'Horten Released 2007.|
Sometimes one film influences another. For example, Make Way for Tomorrow (1937) has a strong influence on two subsequent films.
Other films are direct remakes, such as the 2014 English-language version of the 2005 Spanish film Elsa y Fred.
In this instance, I see two characters taking different approaches to the same life passage. For this reason, I recommend that people watch About Schmidt (2002) and O'Horten (2007) back to back--but necessarily in the same evening.
Schmidt and O'Horten are both men who retire at the beginning of their narratives. Nebraska native Schmidt worked at a insurance company for decades before retiring at age 66. Norway native O'Horten worked as a train conductor for decades before retiring at age 67.
Both men exhibit highly ingrained habits at work and at home. Both men experience personal chaos because of the loss of their workplace routines. This leads both men to question everything from their identity to their relationships to society at large.
What differs is their path through that chaos.