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To Give Up Giving Up On Life, ‘A Man Called Ove’ Review

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Enough can’t be said about how wonderful this movie will make you feel. Divine waves of ambivalence roll over the mind from scene to scene. Dipping from emotional highs to the unfathomable lows, with a clear persistent reminder of the endurance of the human spirit over conflict. ‘A Man Called Ove’ celebrates life in all its facets in no shy manor, weaving together grand treatises on the struggle to be alive with the intimacy of a conversation you might have with an old friend—all this and a killer sense of humor about itself.

‘A Man Called Ove’, is directed and adapted by Swedish filmmaker Hannes Holm. Sourced from the New York Times Bestseller of the same name, the original story was written by Fredrik Backman. The film follows Ove, an isolated retiree who spends his days enforcing neighborhood rules and visiting his wife’s grave. Right as Ove’s given up on life and drifts to thoughts of joining his wife, a unlikely and unwanted friendship starts to develop with his boisterous new neighbors.

It is with Holm’s direction of Rolf Lassgård as Ove that we are quickly endeared to the film’s main character. Though mean spirited and without hope at the start, the film weaves in Ove’s life experiences in seamless flashbacks to illustrate how he arrived at this point, then works to loosen his stubborn perspective on giving up. Ove reminds the viewer of the cantankerous old person inside us all (the one who’d rather stay in tonight and not go see the movie this simple reviewer is suggesting).

The film finds a good rhythm in how it disseminates the characters’ heavy emotional baggage. It keeps the pace alive with laughs in all the right places and never stays on one character for too long. A big reason for this being done so well is the excellent supporting and character roles; most notably, Iranian actress Bahar Pars as Parvaneh, mother of the new family that’s moved in next door to Ove. Pars’ brings a strong presence to the screen, adding a ‘strong enough to be gentle’ vibe that pairs well with Ove’s ever brooding mentality.

This weekend if you’re looking for a sure-fire film to put you through the ringer and remind you of life’s ever shifting unexpected beauty, ‘A Man Called Ove’ is for you. The film hits theatres today.

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