A Man Called Ove

A Grumpy Old Man is more than just a stickler for the rules.

Nothing in Hannes Holm’s tearjerking comedy A Man Called Ove is likely to come as a surprise, but that doesn’t make the picture any less entertaining. The man of the title (Rolf Lassgård) is a widower of the “grumpy and old” variety who rules over his housing complex with an iron nose, shoving it into everyone’s business — particularly if they don’t properly separate their recycling or otherwise follow the rules. His various attempts at suicide are foiled by the arrival of new neighbor Parvaneh (Bahar Pars) and her adorable moppets, who are determined to be friends whether he wants to be or not. Will Ove come to terms with the death of his beloved wife Sonja (Ida Engvoll) and maybe allow himself to be happy for what’s left of his natural life? Oh, probably, but A Man Called Ove is no less charming and funny for that, and if the flashbacks to his history with both Sonja and his own emotionally distant father fill in a backstory that’s never quite as interesting as the front-story, that’s OK, too. For as strong as Ove’s feelings are about the Saab automobile company, you probably know someone who feels as strongly about something equally trivial — maybe even yourself. There’s a bit of Ove in us all.

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