By: Oberst von Berauscht (Two Beers) –
Ove is a 59 year old man who has the run of the small neighborhood in which he lives. When he’s not working, he’s doing a daily rounds of citing his neighbors for violations such as driving in the no-motor zone, leaving bikes outside, and failing to properly dispose of cigarette butts. When he is forced into retirement, Ove decides the time has come for him to join his late wife, and attempts to kill himself. Ove finds the task harder than he might have wanted, though, as things keep distracting him from the deed- always more people to yell at for perceived slights.
This Swedish film exemplifies all the most noteworthy traits of Scandinavian cinema; the film finds warmth in cold places, and cools off where other films would warm the heart. The off-beat humor of Ove’s stereotypical “angry old man” disguises the truth behind a character who is ultimately very unhappy with life and living. Between the daily episodes of the elder Ove as he tries desperately to escape to oblivion, the film flashes back to the young Ove and the wife who left him behind some time ago when she passed away. These bring a deeper understanding for Ove as a character. Ove constantly obsesses about the “Men in White Shirts” who have haunted him all his life. These “white shirts” are bureaucrats whose officious nature ironically compares with Ove’s own behavior when it comes to his own little slice of power within his community. Ove’s world is upset further when new neighbors move in next door, a family of immigrants from Iran.
A Man Called Ove has one significant faltering point; and that is in the flashback segments, which more often than not bring a bit too much maudlin sentiment to the proceedings. Movies about grouchy old men who are really wounded on the inside are far from a new thing, but the best ones don’t attempt to apologize for the gruff behavior of the old man, and instead give you reasons to like them in spite of their sandpapery nature. The more maudlin feel of the flashback sequences disrupt the film’s flow, but there is still too much to admire in it to ignore.
A Man Called Ove is a very funny movie that also happens to go to dark territory not always visited by this kind of quirky comedy.
A Man Called Ove (2016) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: whenever Ove chastises someone
Take a Drink: whenever Ove scowls like a true old person
Do a Shot: each time Ove tries to kill himself
Do a Shot: whenever Ove talks about Saab or Volvo