It is hard not to be cynical when you see a film like A man called Ove. You know that despite the lack of originality, the corny sentimentalism, the bargain basement clichéd characters, some audience is going to buy it all and just love it. To be fair, A man called Ove has at least two things going for it. The two main actors are strong and likable enough to make some of this film watchable. Rolf Lassgård and Bahar Pars play neighbours Ove and Parvaneh. Ove is the stereotypical Swedish/Scandinavian old curmudgeon we’ve been seeing in countless Swedish and Scandinavian films (remember The 100-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared and Finland’s The grump?). Every morning Ove gets up and inspect the complex where he live. He makes sure there are no unattended bikes. If there are, he locks them in the shed. He checks that every garage door is locked. He notes the licence plates of cars that are not properly parked. There is two things he hates more than anything: a car driving on the car-free driveway and people. All people. He calls everyone “Idiot!”. Ove has been that way ever since his beloved wife, Sonja (Ida Engvoll), passed away. Bahar Pars plays Ove’s new neighbour, Parvaneh. She is positive, nice, always smiling and pregnant. Parvaneh is an Iranian emigrant who just moved in next door with her and she just moved in next door with her Swedish husband and her two young daughters. All Ove thinks about is being reunited with his lovely Sonja. But every times he tries to kill himself, there is always something or someone thwarting his plan. And despite how much he hates people, all he gets is love from Parvaneh and his other neighbours. (See, I told you it was corny.) Honestly, this is not that bad a film. But I’ve seen that film so many times before. Nothing new here, move on.
And the Oscar went to… As they did a few years ago with The 100-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared, Eva von Bahr and Love Larson lost the Makeup and hairstyling Oscar a second time. The winner was the universally panned Suicide squad. A man called Ove also lost the Best foreign film award to Iran’s The salesman.
A man called Ove (En man som heter Ove)
Based on the novel by Fredrick Backman
In Swedish and Persian with English subtitles.