A Man Called Ove is the brilliantly balanced screen adaptation of the international best selling book by Fredrik Backman. An uncompromising tale of an extremely grumpy old man who is set in his ways. His wife, the one true love of his life, has passed away. This leads to him following a perpetual cycle of suicide attempts to be back with her. His past is exposed in stages allowing us to sympathise with the character. But more importantly to understand how he has become this way. With each bizarre attempt to take his life other characters come in the frame. Through them we see the big heart that lies beneath the hard exterior.
The movie is masterfully pieced together. It leaps between the past and the present giving beautifully touching romantic scenes. But in the present we feel the desperation of a man who lives in the past. The magic in this tale is that we get to see the real person. A man who believes in doing the right thing – a good man. The old character is abrasive making him hard to like at first. But as the story expands and his exterior cracks, it is hard not to love him. This is a tale of opening the soul and letting others in. As Ove helps others he helps himself allowing love to enter his huge heart.
The film went onto receive critical acclaim. It won multiple awards and was nominated for many more including two Oscar nominations. It is really difficult to find fault with this film. The director Hannes Holm does an amazing job. He wrote the screenplay and with brilliant cinematography pulls the audience into the personal journey that we must take with Ove. The cast does a great job. Touching performances with the perfect balance of humour that requires skilled sensitivity at times. Rolf Lassgård and Filip Berg are both spectacular as the old and young Ove. Ida Engvoll gives is magnetic as Ove's wife, Sonja. But the other big stand out is Bahar Pars who plays the new neighbour who manages to break through Ove's defensive exterior becoming a true friend.
As comedies go, this may not be what you are used to. There are no simple one-liners here with background laughter thrown in. This is a dark comedy in the truest sense. The humour builds as you become more familiar with the characters. There is a masterful blend of laugh out loud moments, tears and subtle moments that bring heartwarming smiles at just the right times.
Tom Hanks is currently producing a new version of A Man Called Ove. The release date has not been confirmed but I do hope that the new film is as sympathetic to the book as this version. If so, we are all in for another treat for sure. If you are looking for something a little different and fancy a feel-good movie, jump onto Amazon Prime and get to know the big heart of A Man Called Ove.