A Man Called Ove (15)

Apr 18, 2018
Cranbrook Film Society

Is this Sweden’s answer to Capra’s “A Wonderful Life”? Circumstance and neighbours constantly thwart an uptight widower’s attempts at self-negation until he realizes that “everything happens for a reason”. In the process we are treated, amongst other things, to the various merits of Volvos and Saabs. The film is dark and melodramatic, sometimes extremely funny and ultimately life affirming.

Hannes Holm | Sweden | 2015 | 116 mins | 15


A rich tapestry of humanity centred round what appears to be the world’s grumpiest man. An unusual choice for what turns out to be a beautifully constructed Drama/Comedy about unexpected friendship, love and the importance of the proper tools.

The film is adapted by the Director Hannes Holm from the book by Fredrik Backmann which was so popular in Sweden that it sold one copy for every 16 people in the population.

Nominated for 2 Oscars in 2017 and grossing over $3.25 million in the first 3 months in the USA, a great success for a film about an ill-tempered, isolated, enforced retiree who spends his days defending housing association regulations and visiting his wife’s grave.

The catalyst which reverses the downward spiral of Ove’s existence comes in the form of a new neighbour, the pregnant Parvaneh newly arrived from Iran with her husband and two daughters. Her energetic sociability aided and abetted by the noise levels generated by her children lever him out of his cocoon and reintroduce him to the human race.

The film has been described as a social commentary on the breakdown of the old Swedish way of life, the old tightly regimented roles giving way to welcome fresh approaches brought by newcomers.

The construction of the film relies on a series of flash-backs which shed light on the present by revealing the background. The even lighting and attractive framing give an old fashioned feeling while the attention to detail completes the production. Even the non-speaking parts are wholly considered, two cats being employed one for still scenes and one for movement!

The film covers a very broad range of emotions which include a large proportion of unexpected laughter.
David MacKerrell


            Weighted vote 93.6%