Review: Grumpy old man comedy A Man Called Ove is funny, moving but also formulaic

Rolf Lassg�rd, Nelly Jamarani, Bahar Pars and Zozan Akg�n in A Man Called Ove. Picture: Music Box Fi

Rolf Lassg�rd, Nelly Jamarani, Bahar Pars and Zozan Akg�n in A Man Called Ove. Picture: Music Box Films - Credit: Music Box Films

Widower Ove Lindahl has lost his wife to cancer and after more than 40 years of loyal service, his employers seems to be pushing him towards retirement at frightening speed.

A Man Called Ove (15)


Nominated for two Academy Awards earlier this year including Best Film In A Foreign Language, writer-director Hannes Holm's comedy drama taps into timely themes of immigration and cultural integration through the eyes of 59-year-old widower Ove Lindahl (Rolf Lassgard)

This is a grumpy old man comedy. Right away we have the measure of this man called Ove – he's a Swedish Victor Meldrew.

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Ove does his morning rounds of his housing association block looking for rule infringements and arguing with a shop assistant about the price of the flowers he's buying to put on his wife's grave.

On TV, Ove could get into comic scrapes week after week, year after year. In the movies grumpy old men cannot be allowed to remain so – redemptions and back stories are required.

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Seemingly alone in the world, Ove grows resentful of friends and neighbours and decides to take his own life. But amid various failed suicide attempts, the film needs to pull him into the light, through an Iranian born neighbour and flashbacks to life with his impossibly loving wife.

This is funny and occasionally moving. It's also formulaic and sentimental, but though you can often feel the lead yanking you towards the light, it doesn't feel like you are being led too forcefully.

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