If you are looking for a droll remake of “A Single Man” featuring a geriatric Swede … then you have very specific tastes, first off. You would also be in luck because that’s essentially what Hannes Holm’s “A Man Called Ove” is.
The titular downcast protagonist played by Rolf Lassgård is a downcast widower who tries repeatedly to kill himself, only to end up finding more reasons to live. With his wife gone, he has few reasons to live except his job, which is of course trying to gently nudge him into retirement. He’s a model worker with an industrious devotion to his profession, and he now bemoans that “soon everyone in this country will be out to lunch.”
But the insular curmudgeon finds human connection with an immigrant from Iran, whose difficulty to adapt to local customs initially gives him a reason to get incensed. Without a workplace in which to enforce standards, he becomes a stickler for rule enforcement in his own neighborhood. Although when it comes to the kindly mother Parvaneh (Bahar Pars), Ove can step back and realize that her pain and isolation outmatches his own. The two slowly bond as he gets a new temporary lease on life.
If the beats sound familiar, that’s probably because they are. There is very little in Holm’s film that feels particularly original, especially not the forced flashbacks that provide a clear biography of the lead character. But if you just want a little bit of prickly cheer, then “A Man Called Ove” might just do the trick. B /