Film review: A Man Called Ove (2016)

This Swedish comedy was nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign film though it did not win. It tells the story of Ove, a 59-year old man who lives in a housing complex. He is the type that we are all familiar with, someone who is grouchy and knows all the rules governing the immediate community and takes it upon himself to vigorously police the place to make sure everyone else is following the rules and upbraiding them when they do not. He is generally regarded as a pain, the one redeeming feature being that he is very handy at fixing things.

But after losing his beloved wife to cancer and then his job in quick succession, he feels that he has nothing more to live for and decides to take his own life. He plans it meticulously but each time, just as he is about to carry it out, he sees a neighbor violating one of the rules and correcting this offense distracts him.

Then one day, a new family moves in next door, a couple with two young children. The mother is Iranian and she does not give Ove a wide berth like everyone else but is relentlessly friendly and ignores his rebuffs, instead asking to borrow his tools, getting his help, and sending him exotic food as thanks. Ove’s attempts to fend her off and the development of their relationship, mixed in with flashbacks of his life, is the story of the film.

This touching comedy is more in the traditional mode and while not as zany as The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared and The Brand New Testament, it is well worth watching.

Here’s the trailer.


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