Rolf Lassgård plays Ove, a bitter man in his sixties failing to find meaning in his life after his wife has died. Hannes Holm’s film is based on Fredrik Backman's popular novel En man som heter Ove (2012). Holm films a very grey Trollhättan housing complex which occasionally has a blue sky or the sun seeping through.
The film is a dark comedy as Ove, having been fired from his job attempts suicide only be repeatedly interrupted by an Iranian-Swedish woman Parvaneh (Bahar Pars) and her family among other neighbours.
Ove in present day is a man out of touch with his community with his endless rules and regulations of the housing area. Lassgård’s performance is an essential ingredient for the film with his broad build and his almost constant scowling at the many people he comes across.
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Perhaps the biggest laughs in the film are when Ove returns a rope to a hardware store in a rage after it failed to do what he wanted, ‘who makes these ropes anyway? Amateurs I tells ya’ or words to that effect.
Another big laugh is when Ove encounters a clown with big shoes who won’t return Ove’s five-kronor coin after using it for a magic trick.
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A Man Called Ove was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Makeup and Hairstyling at this year's Oscars. It also won Best European Comedy at the European Film Awards and at the Guldbagge Awards (Sweden’s Oscar equivalent) it won the Audience Award, Best Actor and Best Makeup.
The film awaits a July release in my home country of Ireland where it will no doubt delight and move audiences. A man out of touch with society in general and his often politically incorrect remarks have amused audiences around the world. The audience are given the opportunity to emphasize with Ove’s character as flashbacks reveal how often he was unlucky in life.
Peter Larkin is an Irish film writer currently based in Sweden. Read his blog here.
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