Review of A Man Called Ove (2015)

Moving picture, 116 minutes

Seen in 2018.

The middle-aged, middle-class, technically proficient, self-assured, hard-working white male at the centre of Swedish society.

The film seems to want to mirror society and build a nuanced sympathy for its purported exemplar. Alas it is full of caricatures and cheap tricks. For example, the rail car where Ove meets Sonja isn’t moving, which is why you don’t see the wheels. Plot points are telegraphed: Multiple comments about the ladder, one about Sonja’s accident. More importantly, the most one-dimensional characters are bureaucrats, villains metonymically reduced to their white shirts. They go to extreme lengths to snub, dismiss and harm Ove, Sonja and Rune. One city planner apparently gets up in the middle of the night to attend a house fire (or starts it himself) on the outskirts of town, so that he can order the firemen not to save the house, and he does this over the protests of the owner. That plot point could be in Looney Tunes (1930).

Later, the similarly evil man who arrives to pick up Rune is revealed to be a tax-cheating CEO. A reporter saves the day by blackmailing the CEO, apparently to the detriment of hundreds if not thousands of other clients, so I guess those people don’t matter. The CEO has a cartoonish fit of rage. This is nothing like the real world. I don’t see the use of elevating Ove to a saint by such melodramatic methods, but Bahar Pars is good.

moving picture fiction