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With Jim Sabatini

A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove
Rolf Lassgard, Ida Engvoll, Bahar Pars and Filip Berg

Rated: PG-13 for thematic content, some disturbing images, and language
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: October 14, 2016 Released by: Music Box Films

The title character in Hannes Holm's new subtitled Swedish-language film has similarities to Scrooge and Walt Kowalski (Gran Torino) in what is tragic, funny, and often endearing.

Like his A Man Called Ove and the flinty, but compassionate Rolf Lassgard (After The Wedding) playing him. There could be a little resemblance to Chris Cooper or a cross between him and Stellan Skarsgaard at first glance

Holm, who writes as well as directs, draws favorably from the widely read 2012 novel (translated into English a year later) of the same by Fredrik Backman through loss and companionship. The way this translation unfolds merits its sentiment even if some may find elements of the means more than a tad overdone which still doesn't mean it's reliant on contrivances.

Ove is a law-abiding, bureaucratic intolerant who hisses at cats and isn't friendly with those who, say, drive autos like a Volvo. Laid off after 43 years from his train maintenance position and removed from his condo block association status, the widower still asserts himself around the community.

Holm employs recollections within the present as the suicidal Ove visits the grave of his beloved Sonja (Ida Engvoll) and gets a new start in a way when a Persian immigrant pregnant wife and mother Parvaneh (a sweet, genuine Bahar Pars) enters his life in a meet-cute fashion. Thwarting chances to be with Sonja turns out to clear much of the negativity and commotion plaguing his outlook and demeanor. A lot of it is from the persuasive cheery expression of Parvaneh who delivers him a chicken and rice confection.

The anguish and love of a boy who learned from his widowed father and became a man (Filip Berg) only to suffer more after finding his soul-mate (an enticing Engvoll exudes much warmth) comprises much of the flash-backing seamlessly integrated into the narrative. A Man Called Ove in its prudent tendencies touches on issues relevant to attitudes and personality with emotional honesty that Lassgard truthfully embraces especially when letting go of his prevailing impersonal irascibility. It may be hard for a person who's endured much to right the course but Holm and Lassgard make the transformation make it real with easygoing esprit.

  Frank Chris Jim Dave Nina Matt Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
A Man Called Ove        B+                     B+ 

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