“A Man Called Ove”

When a  sad man of a certain age purchases a bouquet, we know it is for bereavement. Thus starts this film about Ove ‘s death. On the way, we learn of his life and how his temperament controls him. Obsessive neatness, pride in his cars, love of his deceased wife , and a curmudgeonly sweetness fill the chapters. Based on Fredrik Backman’s Swedish novel I have not read, this film is slow and meandering~ a tad like our protagonist.

Ove seems older than his fifty-nine years. He grumps at the concept that buying two bouquets will give one a deal, and he demands to see the ombudsman. Two prices for one item seem crazy to him. He prissily complains of  gates left unlatched, bikes left out, and cats left to roam. When a  neighbor tries to engage him with a ” hello”, he snaps back with a critical  ” feeling chatty”.

Viewers learn through carefully orchestrated flashbacks what Ove’s life has been like. Our sympathy grows, yet we are reminded of the importance of attitude. After 43 years with the same company his father cleaned trains for, Ove finds himself with a garden spade as a retirement gift. His daily lie-downs at his wife’s grave take on  even more somber meaning. Botched suicide attempts are presented in a humorous way. The film leaves you guessing about his actual death. Is it a heart attack prepared for, or an overdose? Director and screenplay writer Hannes Holm leaves those who have not read the novel guessing.

Ove ‘s love for his wife, his spat with his friend, and his relationship with the young family next door give us more insight into the man. His provincial life is filled with the same angst for meaning we all have.

Enjoy Ove’s foibles: his window mugs, his newspaper soil protector, his Saab obssession, his distaste for bureaucrats, and his favorite word “idiots”. He does good deeds from bike repair to housing a newly outed teen. He writes letters for a disabled friend, and he takes in the cat he once abused. This film has romance, a horrendous death scene, humor, and a very balanced dose of the triteness and of the big issues life entails.  Actor Rolf Lassgard gives us a depth-filled comedy of grief and loneliness. I loved the ending and noticed a new pair of red shoes on his wife and a little girl who will forever follow Ove’s rules. See if you agree that  the  music at the close detracted from this sweet film’s homage to a good man.

Published by

Christine Muller

Carrying a torch for film is what I have done for over forty years, thus the flambleau flamed when I was urged to start a blog. Saving suitcase loads of ticket stubs was no longer relevent so I had to change the game. Film has been important for me in the classroom and a respite for me outside of it. No other art form seems to edge the frayed seams of life as neatly as when a film is done well. I am happy that over one-hundred countries have citizens viewing my thoughts on Word Press, and a few leaving their own with me. Over thirteen hundred comments to date, and over three hundred films reviewed.

One thought on ““A Man Called Ove””

  1. First off I want to say superb blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your head
    prior to writing. I’ve had a hard time clearing my thoughts in getting my
    thoughts out there. I truly do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15
    minutes are generally wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or hints?


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