Ove (Rolf Lassgård) is stubborn, principled and extremely short-tempered, the quintessential grumpy old man terrifying his community with arcane strictures that only he adheres to. Privately, he is mourning the death of his wife and contemplating suicide, his first attempt at which is confounded by the arrival of another set of awful new neighbours moving in next door, knocking over his mailbox in the process.
Recently nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards, Hannes Holm’s delightful adaptation of Fredrik Backman’s bestselling novel swiftly establishes an economical conceit whereby Ove’s frequent thwarted suicide attempts – “killing oneself isn’t all that easy” he drolly intones in voiceover – trigger detailed flashback sequences that fill in the blanks in a life that has known happiness but also deep tragedy, softening our perception of him in the process.
(Notes by David O’Mahony.)
Don’t forget we now schedule weekly.