Director / Hannes Holm (BEHIND BLUE SKIES)
Stars / Rolf Lassgård, Bahar Pars, Filip Berg and Ida Engvoll
When dealing with curmudgeonly older men who live alone and prefer to be left alone, especially by their neighbours, Ove can be compared to Bill Murray’s Vincent in the film ST VINCENT, only less vulgar. Or even with Walt Kowalski (played by Clint Eastwood) in GRAN TORINO, minus the spitting!
This 59 year old Swedish grouch, played by Rolf Lassgård, of course has his perfectly understandable reasons for being perfectly angry at the world and everyone in it. Ove is evidently uninterested in living a life without his dear wife, who passed away 6 months ago. Regular visits to the cemetery, the reinforcing of strict, self-imposed regulations over the community he resides in and an unwillingness to help anyone who dares ask for it, fill Ove’s empty days.
However, Ove’s life takes a few surprising turns when a friendly new family with young children, who don’t take no for an answer, move into the neighbourhood.
This Swedish comedy/drama based on a book written by Fredric Backman was recently nominated for 2 Academy Awards including Best Foreign Language Picture. Proving to be quite the box office success across the globe, the tenderness of the storytelling and an irresistibly heart-warming feel coursing throughout A MAN CALLED OVE will be key to its impending popularity here within Australian shores.
Though there is no denying A MAN CALLED OVE makes no attempts to shake its clichéd roots, the familiar trajectory of the plot never ceases in its ability to entertainingly tell its story. The screenplay picks a suitable time to begin seamlessly transitioning viewers back to when Ove was just a boy, and also a young man. These engaging and touching passages, which occupy close to half of the film’s two hour length, give audiences a better understanding of Ove’s present-state temperament and enable a feeling of empathy toward him. The rest of the film, set in present day, is often delightful to watch. Especially bringing plenty of joy to the film is a charming character portrayed by Bahar Pars and her kids, who are those aforementioned new neighbours.
This funny and heartfelt film is an ideal foreign one to watch, especially for those who are yet to see one or usually prefer to avoid subtitled films, for it is easy to follow and not overly reliant on dialogue. Even though some of the plotting is rather contrived, audiences are likely to laugh and cry, and experience similar levels of satisfaction watching this as they did the 2011 French comedy/drama THE INTOUCHABLES.
3 ½ stars
Viewer Discretion/ M (Mature themes and coarse language)
Trailer / A MAN CALLED OVE
Moviedoc thanks Rialto Distribution and The Backlot Studios for the screening invite to this film.
Review by Moviedoc / “LIKE” on Facebook – Moviedoc