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A Man Called Ove: Endearingly emotional Swedish cinema

A Man Called Ove is one of Sweden’s biggest comedies ever, a top earner at the box office and critically adored at home.

Rolf Lassgård/Courtesy of Red Eye Media

3 out of 4 stars

Title
A Man Called ove
Written by
Hannes Holm
Directed by
Hannes Holm
Starring
Rolf Lassgard, Bahar Pars and Filip Berg
Classification
PG
Country
Sweden
Language
English

Things are not going to be easy for A Man Called Ove in North America. The film may very well be one of Sweden's biggest comedies ever, a top earner at the box office and critically adored at home. But unless there's a "Girl with …" in the title, Western audiences have been notoriously chilly to any Stockholm-sprung cinema. Plus, the film has its competition cut out for it, being released here right after the Fifty Shades Darker/Lego Batman weekend . All of which is unfortunate, as director Hannes Holm's comedy-drama is touching and endearingly sentimental in a way that would seem cloying if attempted by any American studio. Focused on the unexpected bonds formed between the 59-year-old widower of the title and his neighbours, A Man Called Ove hits all of the genre's sweet spots, without ever tipping into the saccharine. Most of the credit can be thrown Rolf Lassgard's way, as the actor gives Ove a humanity, and humility, that is expertly crafted and genuine.

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