There are two kinds of people in the world: peacemakers and mess makers. Usually their lives take very different paths, but when those paths cross, you end up with a beautiful story. Swedish film A Man Called Ove follows a stubborn, bossy widower called Ove (Rolf Lassgard) whose character changes as he embarks on an unexpected friendship with his neighbours.
Ove has never been particularly lovable, and his neighbours have borne the brunt of his meanness. When his wife dies of cancer, his grief takes him to breaking point. But every time he tries to end it all, he is interrupted by an Iranian woman, Parvaneh (Bahar Pars), her Swedish husband and their two children, who are moving into the house across the street.
Ove’s character is brought fantastically to life by Lassgard, and by a series of flashbacks to his childhood, where his relationship with an unfeeling father add to our understanding of his personality. But we’re not totally sympathetic: even as he grieves, he plans revenge on people he doesn’t like. It’s a good reminder that there is no magic wand in real life to change people overnight.
While this is a dramedy, director Hannes Holm makes sure there’s enough laughter in scenes dealing in Ove’s less likeable traits, allowing the audience to focus on the film’s ultimate message: love is important.