A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove

(En Man Som Heter Ove)

Misery hates company.

Swedish comedy-drama starring Rolf Lassgård as a grumpy old retiree who develops an unlikely new friendship. Based on Fredrik Backman's novel of the same name.... More

"This irresistible adaptation of Fredrik Backman’s bestseller is the heart-warming story of how the most short-tempered and stubborn of men is slowly won over by new neighbours." (Edinburgh International Film Festival)Hide

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The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 4 ratings, 3 reviews
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BY MaryP nobody

Under some duress Ove moves from stereotypical, racist cranky old man to a man who becomes considerate of others situations and predicaments. He is led through this transition by new neighbours , particularly the pregnant Parvaneh who seem oblivous to Ove's pedantic grumpiness. A delightful observation of a developing relationship, and the changes it can bring

BY cinemusefilm superstar

The cranky old man stereotype is universally found in fairy tales and films and are abundant in real life. They are easy targets to laugh at, pity, or to incite fear, and their grumpiness, loneliness, and declining relevance fuels their image. As if aging itself was not undignified enough, old men are also often depicted as mad or heading in that direction. In this context, A Man Called Ove (2016) is an unusually sympathetic, darkly funny, and insightful essay on the inner life of a lonely old... More man, playfully blended with themes of multi-culturalism in homogenous Swedish society.

Ove (Rolf Lassgard) is the self-appointed superintendent of rules and manners in a small Swedish neighbourhood where everyone knows everybody. Having recently lost his wife to cancer and then retrenched after a lifetime on the railways, he is seriously suicidal. He fills his time by policing minor breaches of community rules with his gruff rebukes that keep the neighbourhood orderly. His daily patrols, helping the neighbours, and visiting his wife’s grave are the only things keeping him alive. His tormented peace is disturbed when a noisy Iranian family move in next door. Even worse, they seem to be lovely people with nice children and they bring gifts of friendship at inconvenient times. Their arrival temporarily distracts Ove from his death-wish and whenever he readies the noose he is again interrupted by someone who needs him. Ove is always helping others while his own inner turmoil goes unrecognised.

This simple, uneventful plotline is merely the picture frame for one of the most poignant portraits of grief you will find on film. While there is comedy aplenty in watching Ove relate to others, the deeper layers are anything but funny. The emotional pivot points of the story are Ove’s grief and his promise to soon join his wife. If you are looking for comedy it is easy to miss glimpses of his deep despair mixed with his undiminished love for his wife. The acting comes from the school of understated realism and it avoids the melodrama that usually accompanies the grief genre. With deadpan Swedish gravitas, the most ordinary gesture, like Ove looking at his wife’s photo or chatting at her graveside, is deeply moving. Frequent flashbacks fill out the story of Ove’s life and towards the end of the film it is impossible to see him as just a cranky old man. The new family has given his life new meaning, and there are many beautiful moments shared between Ove and his pregnant neighbour. But he is always haunted by the promise to join his wife.

There is a fine line between formulaic melancholy and the lyrical depiction of deep emotion. The Swedes are renown for doing deadpan comedy with dramatic force, and this trait shines in Ove. Little happens in terms of narrative propulsion, and any claim to originality is tenuous. The sheer force of the film lies in a lonely man’s memories expressed through Ove’s wide-eyed face. Some viewers may feel emotionally manipulated but that would be a harsh judgement. This is an outstanding film about universal emotions that all of us at some time will witness or experience.Hide

BY freshdude superstar

The film is funny, surprising, moving, and even romantic as it unspools Ove’s story. This gentle, delightful film touches on an unexpected range of contemporary issues. In other hands, sentiment could have gotten the better of this film but director Holm keeps enough comic edge to rescue it from that fate, keeping it funny but warm, a little gem that will have you leaving the theatre with a smile .

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The Press Reviews

92% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • Holm assumes the audience requires ample evidence of Ove's goodness, and the film loses its footing in backstory melodrama. Full Review

  • Incorporating fluid flashbacks and snippets of narration that refreshingly serve to enhance rather than distract, director-writer Hannes Holm maintains a gentle, lyrical flow while coaxing fine performances from a diverse cast. Full Review

  • Good-hearted stuff, to be sure, but mainly of interest to lovers of cinematic comfort food. Full Review

  • NPR

    This modest dramedy, deftly directed by Hannes Holm from the best-selling novel by Fredrik Backman, is as sweetly sincere as it is market-driven, with gusts of saving black comedy rolling in to rescue it from excess goo. Full Review

  • "A Man Called Ove" has some tear-jerking moments, but the film is so carefully designed - with long, circular takes that seem to surround the main characters at crucial fateful points - that technique often triumphs over sentimentality. Full Review

  • It's a heartwarming tale about a stubborn, short-tempered man with steadfast beliefs, strict routines and the feeling that everyone around him is an idiot - and no reticence about telling them so. Full Review

  • A Man Called Ove - preaching tolerant togetherness as the key to happiness - earns its sentimentality by striking a delicate balance between barking-mad comedy and syrupy melodrama. Full Review

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