Hollywood adaptation of this Swedish heart-tugger is probably
inevitable, especially if it wins the Oscar for Best Foreign Language
Film later this month at the Academy Awards.
It won’t be necessary. A Man Called Ove
shamelessly, but also quite movingly, hits all the required notes of
the most pandering of feel-good Tinseltown sagas, with its story of a
grouchy guy who turns out to have a heart of gold and a past worth
Hannes Holm, working from a popular novel by Fredrik Backman, eschews
the astringent and absurdist comedy of such Scandinavian contemporaries
as Roy Andersson and Bent Hamer.
makes a comic “Kumbaya,” embracing a world view that would make Donald
Trump shudder: one where neighbours of varying nationalities, sexual
orientations, physical abilities and ages learn to happily get along
together, even if they do a fair bit of crabbing beforehand.
The expressive Rolf Lassgård (After the Wedding)
plays title grumpster Ove. Old beyond his 59 years, the kind of guy who
wears a shirt and tie even when he’s supposedly chilling at home, Ove
wants people off his lawn and also the road through his gated community,
which looks designed by Ikea.
Ove yells at
anyone who violates the many road signs he’s posted as self-appointed
neighbourhood watchdog, but he’s clearly an unhappy man. Newly laid off
and recently widowed, he’s making typically best-laid plans to take his
wants to be reunited with his late wife Sonja (Ida Engvoll), who is
seen in numerous happier-day flashbacks where Filip Berg plays the
younger and sweeter Ove.
become comic through constant interruptions from the neighbours, one in
particular. She’s Parvaneh (Bahar Pars), an immigrant from Iran
expecting her third child with her clueless hubby Patrick (Tobias
Almborg). Parvaneh needs help with her restless kids and she’s also
eager to learn how to drive, despite having no aptitude for it — she
wrecks Ove’s cherished mailbox while leaving her garage.
Ove could assist? And could he also look after a stray cat, the one
with beseeching eyes? A movie this Hollywood might just win the Oscar,
but all the tears and smiles are earned.