A Man Called Ove portrays Rolf Lassgård in the titular role as the grumpiest of grumpy old men, not understanding why he can’t get one bunch of flowers for 35krone, simply because he has a voucher that states two bunches are 70kr. I’ve seen that happen before in shops, so clearly this man’s trials are ones with whom we can all sympathise.
It doesn’t take long for this very socially and emotionally awkward man, before we get to those irritants of mine, such as smokers dropping fag butts on the ground, Audi drivers (“Four zeroes on the bonnet, and one behind the wheel!”) as well as any car owner who simply can’t park their vehicles properly… plus a little yappy dog which he refers to as “a hairy winter boot with eyes”.
To add insult to injury in his seemingly miserable life, he’s about to get the sack from the job he’s held for 43 years after taking over from his father, meaning all he has left to do each day is tend to his late wife’s grave, and be a ‘Mr Fussy’ over the rules at his tenants association block.
After bumping into the new neighbours, a young family, and striking up an unlikely friendship, particularly with Parvaneh (Bahar Pars), the wife of the clan – who’s heavily pregnant and wants to learn to drive – can they brighten his outlook on life, or will he just continue on as before, as we first encounter him at the start of the movie. Well, that sounds like one of those premises where everything will turn out exactly as you expect, but in showing there’s a lot more to some people than we’ll ever know about, this far transcended the premise and drew me in to prove to me that this is one of the best films of the year.
A Man Called Ove also shows the man living his life as a child, growing up with his father, then later, meeting his wife and we get to learn why he only likes people who are exactly like him, and partially like those who are similar but not exact… as to why when we get to the present day, he’s seen even berating the existence of reversing cameras in cars, chiding the driver, “You shouldn’t even be able to reverse a decision!”
Ultimately, Ove proves that whatever happens, it’s always right to stand up for what you believe in, even when it includes complaining to the council about every last little thing they cock up, or ITV when they broadcast films in the wrong widescreen aspect ratio, insisting that the public prefers films cropped to 16:9, based on research that, while they won’t admit it, was clearly carried out about 30 years ago.
With a military-style score to match the man’s old-style ways, the film gets a little bit silly at times, but there are moments in his life when even the hardest of hearts would shed a tear.
Lassgård is fantastic as the beligerent old man, and there’s great support from Bahar Pars as Parvaneh, plus Filip Berg and Ida Engvoll as Ove and Sonja in earlier times.
There’s so much more I could say about A Man Call Ove, but it’s best experienced by watching this story which skilfully drip-feeds an insight into the life he’s lived, and I urge you to watch this instantly.
The film is presented in the original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio and in 1080p high definition, and as you’d expect for a major new release, the print is sharp, perfectly getting across Ove’s often-grim outlook on life with a bit of a muted colour scheme.
The audio is in DTS HD-MA 5.1, and while there’s nothing major in the split-surround department, I did welcome the score, as mentioned earlier.
The extras are as follows, and while there’s not too much in the way of them, I love having one-off events like Q&As on the disc:
- The Ove In Us All (14:28): A making-of with clips from the film mixed in with chat from actors Rolf Lassgård and Bahar Pars, and writer/director Hannes Holm.
- Q&A at the Scandinavia House NYC (21:02): recorded in New York on September 27th, 2016, John Anderson from the Wall Street Journal talks to all of the above in the making-of.
- Make-up gallery (1:04): A brief series of pictures, showing the lead actor having a balding skull cap applied.
- Make-up time lapse (0:45): And the skull cap being applied in time-lapse form. He looks so happy 😉
- Theatrical trailer (1:52): In the original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio and, watching it after the film is making me fill up again.
There’s a bog-standard 12 chapters on this disc, English subtitles are on by default and cannot be switched off, and the menu features a static shot of the cover with a small piece of the theme accompanying it.
Running time: 116 mins
Distributor: Thunderbird Releasing
Released: October 16th 2017
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Hannes Holm
Producers: Annica Bellander and Nicklas Wikström Nicastro
Screenplay: Hannes Holm (based on the novel by Fredrik Backman)
Music: Gaute Storaas
Ove: Rolf Lassgård
Parvaneh: Bahar Pars
Young Ove: Filip Berg
Sonja: Ida Engvoll
Patrick: Tobias Almborg
Jimmy: Klas Wiljergård
Anita: Chatarina Larsson
Rune: Börje Lundberg
Ove’s father: Stefan Gödicke
“Whiteshirt”: Johan Widerberg
Journalist Lena: Anna-Lena Bergelin
Sepideh: Nelly Jamarani
Nasanin: Zozan Akgün
7 year-old Ove: Viktor Baagøe
Adrian: Simon Edenroth
Mirsad: Poyan Karimi
Young Anita: Maja Rung
Young Rune: Simeon Da Costa Maya
Mähät: Jessica Olsson
Anders: Fredrik Evers
Tom: Ola Hedén
Ove’s colleague: Lasse Carlsson
Beppo the Clown: Anna Granath
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.