When a sad man of a certain age purchases a bouquet, we know it is for bereavement. Thus starts this film about Ove ‘s death. On the way, we learn of his life and how his temperament controls him. Obsessive neatness, pride in his cars, love of his deceased wife , and a curmudgeonly sweetness fill the chapters. Based on Fredrik Backman’s Swedish novel I have not read, this film is slow and meandering~ a tad like our protagonist.
Ove seems older than his fifty-nine years. He grumps at the concept that buying two bouquets will give one a deal, and he demands to see the ombudsman. Two prices for one item seem crazy to him. He prissily complains of gates left unlatched, bikes left out, and cats left to roam. When a neighbor tries to engage him with a ” hello”, he snaps back with a critical ” feeling chatty”.
Viewers learn through carefully orchestrated flashbacks what Ove’s life has been like. Our sympathy grows, yet we are reminded of the importance of attitude. After 43 years with the same company his father cleaned trains for, Ove finds himself with a garden spade as a retirement gift. His daily lie-downs at his wife’s grave take on even more somber meaning. Botched suicide attempts are presented in a humorous way. The film leaves you guessing about his actual death. Is it a heart attack prepared for, or an overdose? Director and screenplay writer Hannes Holm leaves those who have not read the novel guessing.
Ove ‘s love for his wife, his spat with his friend, and his relationship with the young family next door give us more insight into the man. His provincial life is filled with the same angst for meaning we all have.
Enjoy Ove’s foibles: his window mugs, his newspaper soil protector, his Saab obssession, his distaste for bureaucrats, and his favorite word “idiots”. He does good deeds from bike repair to housing a newly outed teen. He writes letters for a disabled friend, and he takes in the cat he once abused. This film has romance, a horrendous death scene, humor, and a very balanced dose of the triteness and of the big issues life entails. Actor Rolf Lassgard gives us a depth-filled comedy of grief and loneliness. I loved the ending and noticed a new pair of red shoes on his wife and a little girl who will forever follow Ove’s rules. See if you agree that the music at the close detracted from this sweet film’s homage to a good man.