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Film Review: ‘A Man Called Ove’ is relatable and impactful

A Man Called Ove will show at The Athena Cinema starting Friday, Nov. 4. For full showtimes, click here.

A Man Called Ove will take people on an emotional roller coaster and present the effect kindness can have on have on people around them.

The Swedish film follows Ove (Rolf Lassgård), a bitter, grumpy, old man who spends his days visiting his wife’s grave and enforcing strict rules in the block where he lives. Ove appears to be harsh and tough on the outside, but soon shows his heart and kindness, which starts with new neighbors who move into the house across from his.

Ove is an extremely dynamic and beautifully written character. Throughout the film, Ove attempts suicide several times. Each time he tries to kill himself, the audience sees into his troubled past filled with many unfortunate events. The only time, it seems, Ove is happy when he is with his wife, who is present in most of the flashbacks. The flashbacks are essential to knowing Ove because it shows why he is so adamant about people following the rules of the block and to learn how he shows love and kindness. Those scenes are also crucial to understanding and accepting the complexity of the character.

The actors who play old and young Ove — Lassgård and Filip Berg, respectively — deliver outstanding performances. Both of the actors capture the essence of the lonely, soft-spoken, reserved man. The conflicts Ove faces in the confines of his home are clearly written on the actors’ faces. Ove is a strong character and does not want anyone to see him cry or his true nature, so when Ove is alone and displays his deepest emotions, it has a grand effect on the viewers. In his moments of despair and loneliness, which the audience can surely connect to, Ove’s struggles are brought to the forefront and presented in an impactful manner.

The most poignant part of the film is the message. The film is all about hitting rock-bottom and how that makes a person feel. But A Man Called Ove does not settle at the bottom of the pit — when Ove is at his lowest, the people around him reach out a hand and help him out of his despair. Soon, the man whom no one likes has a sundry of friends to look after him and make him happy. The storyline can pertain to most people’s lives because everyone has a rock-bottom, but no one is ever alone in their struggles.

With impactful storytelling, characters and messages, A Man Called Ove should be at the top of everyone’s list of must-see foreign films. The storyline is relatable and delivers the message that no one is ever alone, there are people who care and want to help. For those who choose to watch the emotional film, do not forget a box of tissues — crying is pretty much a guarantee.

Rating: 5/5


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