DVD Review: A Man Called Ove (Lights, Camera, Action!)

By Thom Compton 16.09.2017 2

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A Man Called Ove  (UK Rating: 15)

The term curmudgeon doesn't get enough use. However, of all the synonyms for cranky person language has given the world, curmudgeon perfectly describes Ove. A 59-year-old man who doesn't much care for other people, Ove (Rolf Lassgård) spends his days working, patrolling his community for home owner association type infractions, and generally being in a bad mood. After a limited cinema release during the summer, A Man Called Ove - based on the international bestseller by Fredrik Backman - comes to the UK on DVD and Blu-ray, via Thunderbird Releasing, on 16th October in the UK.

It's not entirely his fault, though, as a lot of the people around him are very frustrating. Between a young woman that lets her Chihuahua do what it wants, an annoying social worker always driving through the neighbourhood, and two young members of management who are generally incompetent, Ove has a lot to deal with.

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Even without all those things, though, Ove isn't happy, and so he decides to put an end to it all. Be forewarned, A Man Called Ove doesn't mind poking a little fun at death, but it treats suicide with the utmost respect, which is why his first serious attempt leads to him meeting his new neighbours.

The young couple are comprised of a Parvaneh (Bahar Pars) and Patrick. Parvaneh is a young mother of two, expecting a third, who is generally very upbeat, although does not take sass or anything similar. Patrick is sort of a bumbling husband, yet he's not as offensive as that trope can be. In general, he just doesn't think ahead, and he's a fairly minor character, honestly, so most of his screen time is setting up minor gags about how he doesn't plan ahead.

The remainder of the cast include Ove's neighbour and former best friend, Rune, Ove's deceased wife, Sonja, and the aforementioned social worker who's about as likeable as an itchy scab. Mind you now, the social worker is the closest thing A Man Called Ove has to an antagonist, and he's poorly utilised for the most part. Perhaps the focus isn't on a bad guy / good guy power struggle, but he gets all of seven minutes on-screen, resulting in him being more of an occasional pest than a proper bad guy. It's too bad, because he's genuinely detestable, and it's not in the "they didn't mean to do that" kind of way.

Ove may be cranky, but he doesn't fit the stereotype of the loner who befriends the family next door, at least not completely. As you see through the film's brilliant use of back-story, Ove has a natural inclination to help people. His back story is spectacularly well done, and seeing the relationship he had with his father, as well as his wife, is done in the perfect amount of time. Never once does it feel like it's dragging, nor does it feel like it's been rushed.


 
As a result of that, sadly, the ending is. All the conflicts seem to be resolved within 10 minutes, and while the ending is satisfying, it's completely sped through. Another five minutes would have been enough to let all the loose ends feel like they had truly been resolved but, as it is, this whole affair ends just a little too quickly. That's a shame, because A Man Called Ove is sublime fun and thoroughly deserving of its multiple accolades, including a European Film Award for Best European Comedy and two Oscar nominations. Mixing its dark humour (listening to Ove threaten the Chihuahua might make you laugh, even if it makes you feel bad for doing so) with what could have otherwise been a pretty run of the mill, feel good movie, is sensational.

Another notch in its favour is the extraordinary writing and acting. Lines not only sound natural, but are delivered in a remarkably believable manner. It's easy to see that Ove has a deep soul, whether it's his treatment of his neighbours, despite his obvious chagrin, or his behaviour as a younger man. This is a fantastic film, and deserves every ounce of your attention if feel good, dark humour comedies are your sort of thing.

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10
A Man Called Ove is a delightful film that only falters from some under-utilised character development and an ending that could have used a bit more time to wrap everything up. Otherwise, this is a powerfully funny film that manages to be both grim and uplifting, all while being outstanding and thoughtful.

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Comments

I hadn't heard of this at all, so I'm really happy you reviewed it and brought it to my attention. I saw the trailer now and it looks really great. One for me and the wife to watch this week.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

I was taken by surprise how good it was. I knew what the basic idea was but I was very impressed.
 

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