A MAN CALLED OVE
(En man som heter Ove)
Sweden (2018) 116 minutes.
Directors/writers: Hannes Holm
Cast: Rolf Lassgård (Ove), Bahar Parsm (Parvaneh), Filip Berg (young Ove), Ida Engvoll (Sonja)
Screening 10 January 2018 at Swindon Arts Centre
An irritable, elderly busybody spends his days making his neighbours miserable with his grousing and demands for order, but his crabbiness hides a deep grief for his deceased wife, whom he hopes to soon join. His clumsy a empts at suicide bring him into contact with the Persian family next door, and his growing friendship with them helps him reconnect with life.
Based on Swedish author Fredrik Backman’s bestselling novel, this feelgood black comedy tracks Ove (Rolf Lassgård), a grumpy, grieving mechanic and “nit-picking obstructionist” who’s just lost his job.
A string of Ove’s suicide attempts are thwarted by a series of comically mundane interruptions, which introduce him to new neighbour Parvaneh (Bahar Pars), a straight-talking pregnant Persian with two small children who adore him. Filip Berg plays Ove the young man, giving context to his brittleness in flashback form. It’s moving, then, to see his cantankerousness melted away by Parvaneh’s sunny good nature.
By giving voice to blue-collar anxieties before working to resolve them, the film suggests that community can cure almost all ailments.
Simran Hans, The Guardian
Anyone who has read Fredrik Backman’s bestselling novel, about “the kind of man who points at people he doesn’t like the look of, as if they were burglars and his forefinger a policeman’s torch”, will know exactly what to expect from Hannes Holm’s film adaptation, an Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film. Everyone else should brace themselves for a blackly comic film that uses the unlikely device of multiple suicide attempts as a framework upon which to build, in flashback, the story of a man’s life, most notably the tragedies that made him the bitter, middle- aged busybody he is today...
...As with the source material, the film’s principal challenge is whether such a thoroughly unpleasant individual — like Jack Nicholson’s grumpy writer in As Good As It Gets, only less charming and likeable — can keep the audience in his corner long enough to witness his glacial, yet inevitable, transformation into a sympathetic figure.
David Hughes, Empire Online
- Official submission of Sweden for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category of the 89th Academy Awards in 2017.
- Rolf Lassgård, the actor playing Ove, was 59 years old when the shooting of the movie begun. The same age as the character he plays.
- Two different ragdoll cats, Magic and Orlando, were used in the movie. After a casting, Magic was selected due to his adherence, curiousness and never could be startled away. Orlando was a stand-in used for the scenes when required to stay put or be carried for long periods of time. Both cats were born in Poland.