A Man Called Ove – ★ ★ ★ ★ DVD Review

Man Called Ove40

A Man Called Ove is based the book by Fredrik Backman and starred Rolf Lassgård as Ove, a grumpy old Swedish widower and Bahar Pars as Parvaneh, his new neighbour, a pregnant woman from Persia.  Ove is a typical “grumpy old man”, he fusses about his neighbourhood, and has rules that he thinks everyone else living there should live by too.  He works at the train yard, as his father before him did, or at least he did work there for today was the day he was told he was no longer needed.  Progress has eliminated the need for the old man.  He berates the neighbours unfortunate enough to meet him as he walks to his house where he puts on his suit, ties a cord to a hook in the ceiling and prepares to hang himself.  The rope breaks, so he heads back to the store to complain about the rope’s falsely advertised weight bearing capabilities.  Armed with some new rope he tries again, but is disturbed by the sound of someone crashing into his mailbox.  Parvaneh, her husband and two children are moving in, and her husband Patrik (Tobias Almbord) is not very good at backing up the trailer.  Taking charge Ove deftly navigates the vehicle into their driveway for them.  He doesn’t do this to be nice, no, he does it because their own attempts would bother him.  When the task is complete, he’s just to tired to kill himself that night.  We learn a lot about how Ove came to be the way he is through flashbacks, where we learn about his late wife Sonja (Ida Engvoll), how they met, and fell in love, and what happened afterwards.  Ove was really happy with Sonja, but cancer came and took her, and he spiralled away too.  As his backstory is revealed, you begin to change your opinion of Ove.

At first, I  found his behaviour somewhat funny, but ultimately he was just a rude, angry old man, but as the character was fleshed out and developed, you really begin to like him.  The addition of the neighbours was just what he needed to initiate the character shift.  Though Parvaneh herself is competent, her husband really isn’t.  We already know he cant backup a car with a trailer, he can’t hook up a dishwasher, and he breaks his leg when he falls off the ladder he borrowed from Ove (who did tell him to read the instructions).  With a broken leg he can’t teach Parvaneh to drive either, so Ove steps in.  Not out of compassion or friendship, but out of frustration at the lack of efficiency with which the family is living their lives.  Eventually though his assistance does come from friendship, and love.  Throughout the story, (between suicide attempts) Ove has been building up a circle of friends and softening in his ways, and we realize what a nice guy he can be.

A very well told story, and I’ll admit that more than a few times my eyes may have gotten a little misty.  I think that really says something about a “foreign film”.  If a film where you have to split your attention by reading the subtitles the whole time can emotionally move you, it really is a good film.  The plot may be a little obvious, it is a “feel good story” after all, but it was still a rewarding and entertaining watch, and I think it was really a bit more than that, I think it was actually a love story.  A rom-com almost, about this grumpy old man who you think no one could love, but eventually everyone loves.

Bottom Line: A Man Called Ove was kind of like a Swedish Gran Torino, it even used cars as a plot point!  Ove loves Saabs.


Posted on 17-06-14, in 4 Star, Movie Reviews and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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