REVIEW: A Man Called Ove Is the Hidden Gem of the Oscar Race

In this year’s Best Foreign Language Film’s Oscar race, Toni Erdmann has the critics’ love and The Salesman locks up the controversy factor.

A Man Called Ove is more low-key than its peers, but it’s a better movie that’s worth of your attention.

(Oddly, it also got a second nomination: Best Make Up.)

The Ove in question (Rolf Lassgård, Wallander) is a cantankerous man on the verge of becoming a sexagenarian. Deemed redundant by the factory he has worked at his entire life and without his wife, Ove doesn’t have a good reason to go on.

But just as he’s adjusting the noose around his neck, a noisy Persian-Swedish family moves in next door. If there’s something stronger than Ove’s death wish, it’s the need to tell people off (think of a darker Curb Your Enthusiasm). Soon, the situation becomes a loop and every time Ove is close to meet his maker, we get a flashback that helps us understand the grumpy old man. Let’s just say he has been dealt a number of rotten hands through the years.

Besides lots of black humor, A Man Called Ove is a fun character study that shows the power of community and the benefits of diversity. The film may not be as cutting as the competition, but for sure is timely. Four prairie dogs.

A Man Called Ove opens today at the Golden Mile – Studio 7.

Author: Jorge Ignacio Castillo

Journalist, film critic, documentary filmmaker, and sometimes nice guy. Member of the Vancouver Film Critics Circle. Like horror flicks, long walks on the beach and candlelight dinners. Allergic to cats.