Light in tone yet dealing with heavy themes centered around love, death, dependency, and connection, Hannes Holm's A Man Called Ove is a cleverly structured character study about Ove, a 59 year-old man whose temperament isn't exactly hospitable. The opening of A Man Called Ove is quick to establish our main protagonist as a person of solitude, ill-tempered with nearly every situation he comes across, enforcing the neighborhood associations rules and regulations with an iron fist. Ove's inner turmoil is projected externally, with his short fuse and how he seems to see everything in a negative light being fueled by his anger towards the death of his wife which we come to learn was 6 months ago. Featuring a biting sense of humor that finds the comedy in some pretty dark situations, A Man Called Ove manages to balance its comedy and drama surprisingly well, with both elements being strong overall in a film that feels like a relatively unique treatment of the themes typical in these types of stories. Usually the comedy hits but the drama feels cheap, yet with A Man Called Ove both work equally, with a large part of that being a bi-product of a in-depth characterization. Featuring flashbacks sequences centered around each of Ove's attempted suicides throughout the film, A Man Called ove takes advantage of the known hypothesis that time slows down when one finds themselves on death's doorstep, exhibiting how this ill-mannered character was shaped by a tragic-filled past Through these flashbacks which span from early childhood to adulthood, Ove is exposed to the audience, being an introverted, passive character whose always relied on the close connection he has with another, whether it be his late father or late wife. A major source of comedy are Ove trying, and failing, to kill himself repeatedly, exhibiting a character who avoids the neighbors until an unexpected friendship with a new resident on the block begins to emerge. Ove struggles to admit he needs others in his life, with film exposing the need for connection in humanity, with having someone to confide in being fundamental to the human experience. In this sense, A Man Called Ove is a profound, tender love story, more about the fundamental nature of what defines love than most films around, doing so with dark humor as its main way of transport. While A Man Called Ove does teeter on the edge of over-sentimentality, specifically towards the end of the film, Hannes Holm's has crafted a cleverly structured narrative that aids in delivering a strong characterization in the form of Ove, an essential attribute that goes a long way in making this film worth seeing.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.