Ove, an ill-tempered, isolated retiree who spends his days enforcing block association rules and visiting his wife's grave, has finally given up on life just as an unlikely friendship develops with his boisterous new neighbors.
59 year old Ove is the block's grumpy man who several years earlier was deposed as president of the condominium association, but he could not give a damn about being deposed and therefore keeps looking over the neighborhood with an iron fist. When pregnant Parvaneh and her family moves into the terraced house opposite and accidentally backs into Ove's mailbox it turns out to be an unexpected friendship. A drama comedy about unexpected friendship, love and the importance of surrounding yourself with the proper tools.
"A Man Called Ove" (2015 release from Sweden) brings the story of 59 yr. old Ove. As the movie opens, we see him bickering in a store over the price of flowers on his way to visit his wife Sonja's grave. Not long thereafter, he is given the boot at work, after a 43 yr. career in train maintenance. This leaves him with plenty of time to do the rounds of the small (and traffic-free) community where he lives. Then a young family moves in across the street, not knowing the many strict rules of the community. All along, Ove can't wait to join his beloved Sonja in the hereafter. At this point we're 15 min. into the movie but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: first of all, if you have seen the trailer, you are probably expecting something along the line of that other recent Swedish movie, the funny and irreverent "The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared", as certainly the trailer gives that expectation. Let me stop you right there, as "A Man Called Ove" turns out to be almost nothing like it, and in fact I will say that the movie's trailer is outright misleading. "A Man Called Ove" certainly has some funny moments here and there, but in fact deals a lot more with how someone deals with facing life without a dearly beloved significant other. The movie cleverly looks back at the budding romance between Ove and Sonja in a number of flashbacks, and it's not until the very last 15 min. that we get the full picture. (During one of those flashbacks, we hear Demis Roussos' "Forever and Ever" in the background, which I literally hadn't heard in decades. That guy was HUGE in Europe in the 70s.) The movie also looks at the importance of neighbors and the immediate community (and even integration of migrants, as the wide of the young family fled Iran and is now completely fluent in Swedish). The movie that came to mind as I was watching this is Clint Eastwood's "Gran Torino" of a few years ago. Indeed, certain parallels are uncanny (grumpy older guy, love for cars (in "Ove" it's a Saab), dealing with personal loss, adjusting to new neighbors, etc. Rolf Lassgard is outstanding in the title role, and kudos also to Barar Pars as the young wife from Iran.
"A Man Called Ove" opened with little pre-release fanfare at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati. The Friday early evening screening where I saw this at was attended very nicely, somewhat to my surprise. So much the better! If you are up for a bittersweet Swedish movie about an older gentleman's adjustment to a new world, I think you will like this quite a bit. "A Man Called Ove" is worth checking out!
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