my book review, I loved the Swedish novel A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, so I was downright giddy when I learned there was a Swedish film made of the novel. Well, last Friday I went to my local fine arts cinema and caught a screening, and boy did it ever do the book justice. It was so beautiful!
Attendance was touch and go for a couple minutes because I couldn't find parking, but thankfully after the third loop through the train station parking lot, success. The movie was being screened in the tiniest theater imaginable, I think it seated 30 people, so with the late arrival thanks to parking and of course a stop at the concession stand for popcorn, drink and candy (what's a movie without them?), seating was limited to either the very front row or one single seat next to an elderly gentleman who had placed a bag on the chair. You're probably like, "and I care about this why?" I'm sharing this tidbit because he was so downright charming that it made my afternoon. Get this, I asked if he was saving the seat for someone and his response was "for you." Aww.
For those of you who haven't read the book (you totally should), A Man Called Ove tells the story of the eponymous hero, "the quintessential angry old man next door. An isolated retiree with strict principles and a short fuse, who spends his days enforcing block association rules that only he cares about, and visiting his wife’s grave. Ove has given up on life. Enter a boisterous young family next door who accidentally flattens Ove’s mailbox while moving in and earning his special brand of ire. Yet from this inauspicious beginning an unlikely friendship forms." Think Grumpy Old Men meets It's A Wonderful Life. Honestly, the film was heartwarming, charming, funny, and poignant; in part due to the great source material but also thanks to the utterly riveting and emotional performance by the lead actor, Rolf Lassgård.
The film was sweet and sentimental but in the best way, not sappy or maudlin. Much like the book, the director relied on flashbacks to share with the viewer the hidden truths of this curmudgeon's bittersweet life of love and loss and the fact that behind that scowling exterior beat a heart of gold. Of course, by the end of the film I was a mess, both figuratively and literally since I didn't have tissues and I had tears streaking down my red cheeks, a runny nose and was this close, like a hair's breath, from choked sobs. I didn't feel bad though because remember my charmer and seat buddy, he was a mess too! Yup, he was sniffling like there's no tomorrow and you know the whole shoulder shake you do when you're holding in tears, yup that was him. A man after my own heart.
Long story short, do yourself a favor and go see A Man Called Ove; you'll be thanking me if you do; after you finish blowing your nose from crying.