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A Man Called Ove - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
A Man Called Ove
Directing: B+
Acting: B+
Writing: B+
Cinematography: B+
Editing: B+

A Man Called Ove is predictably playing locally at the Seven Gables Theatre, which seems to be the venue reserved for Movies About And For Old People. Also foreign films. Especially foreign films about and for old people. But don't let that deter you! This movie has unique charms.

In this case, it's about 59-year-old Ove (Rolf Lassgård), who makes the rounds in his small neighborhood crankily making sure everyone is following the rules. His beloved wife died six months ago, and Ove is eager to join her in the afterlife. This means several suicide attempts, which keep getting comically interrupted by annoying neighbors in one way or another.

Ove is clearly a sad old man, but Lassgård manages to make him lovable, if difficult to imagine living with. Each time he attempts suicide, some part of his past is presented in flashback, usually involving his late wife. We find out how they met, get a sense of how she fell for him, and how her recent death turned him into such a crank. Well, it wasn't just that. He also has this petty rivalry with what I guess you could call a neighborhood frenemy, years of tensions traced back to Ove's love of Saabs and the friend's love of Volvos. If that sounds kind of dumb, well, I suppose it is.

This is a movie with its own brand of escapism. There's something oddly cozy about its tone. To be sure, there's nothing new about a cranky old man who just needs to learn how to get past a tragic event in his life. It's the context that makes this one different: the Swedish setting and language. I hesitate to include the word "culture," as this script would work in pretty much any Western society.

Ove isn't bigoted, he's just mean. His neighbors all let his behavior just roll right off their backs though. Maybe that's where the culture part comes in? Most Americans wouldn't be so forgiving. And the neighbors' kindness eventually starts to rub off on him. He visits his wife's grave site regularly, having conversations with her. He even starts bringing the stray cat he begrudgingly adopts.

It is a minor achievement that in spite of the several suicide attempts, A Man Called Ove avoids ever being particularly dark. It's just a well made, generally pleasant and amusing film from beginning to end.

Rolf Lassgård is A MAN CALLED OVE.</a></script>

Overall: B+
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