A Man Called Ove

Poster for A Man Called Ove

“A touching comic crowd-pleaser that may call for a tissue or two by the end, A Man Called Ove is Swedish helmer Hannes Holm’s irresistible adaptation of Fredrik Backman’s eponymous bestselling novel. It’s a heartwarming tale about a stubborn, short-tempered man with steadfast beliefs, strict routines and the feeling that everyone around him is an idiot—and no reticence about telling them so. After new neighbours accidentally run over his mailbox, the cantankerous old git’s solitary, regimented world is shaken in ways he would never have imagined…

The action unfolds both in the present and in the past [with Ove being played by Rolf Lassgård in the present, by Filip Berg when Ove was a young man and by Viktor Baagoe when he was a boy]. The knowledge that audiences are given in the flashbacks allows them to reassess the protagonist, thus supporting the film’s underlying theme about the unreliability of first impressions; as one would expect, there is heroism and genuine goodness lying beneath his prickly exterior…

Ultimately, it’s a friendship with the new neighbours—practical, pregnant Parvaneh (Bahar Pars), her young daughters (Nelly Jamarani, Zozan Akgun), and her hopelessly unhandy husband Patrik (Tobias Almborg), who never has the correct tools—that gives Ove a new lease on life… Holm makes poignantly clear that being needed is an essential human desire, and life is so much sweeter when shared with others. Like the novel, Holm’s screenplay makes Ove an archetypal figure, yet one with his own unique story to tell.” (Alissa Simon, Variety)

“All movies are manipulative by default; the effectiveness of that manipulation is the more valid measurement to inspect. On that scale, A Man Called Ove is a morbidly funny and moving success.” (Odie Henderson, RogerEbert.com)

“Holm’s adaptation is a darkly funny, tragic, and ultimately heartwarming tearjerker about the life of one lonely but extraordinary man.” (Devan Coggan, Entertainment Weekly)