I never imagined that “A Man Called Ove” would be one of my top four movies for 2016. I resigned myself to seeing it due to its Oscar nomination for Best Makeup and Hairstyling but immediately became entranced by its perfect blend of comedy and drama. Ove (pronounced “Oo-veh”) is one of the grumpiest men that you will ever meet and his story shows that it is never too late in life for a change of heart. It is an incredible example of patient storytelling that discloses small details of a larger story to develop the characters until the big reveal toward the end of the film. Rolf Lassgård commands the screen with his deep bass voice and old man posture. He manages to be dislikable, intimidating, endearing, and humorous all at the same time. He also shows an amazing transition as he forms an unlikely bond with his new neighbor, played by Bahar Pars. Filip Berg is believable as a younger version of Ove and Ida Engvoll turns in a charming performance as Sonja. All of the acting hits on the realism and humor that is needed for the film’s dichotomy. The makeup/hairstyling team of Eva von Bahr and Love Larson deserve the Oscar for their work on this film. Lassgård is a youthful-looking man with a full head of hair and their ability to physically transform him into an elderly bald man is remarkable. This film was shot using a lot of close-ups and the make-up looks great from every angle. You may wonder why they didn’t just cast an actual old man in this role but you will understand once you see the emotionally charged performance by Lassgård. I don’t know if this film can win the Best Hairstyling and Makeup Oscar because it is difficult for foreign films to compete with American franchises like Star Trek, but I would love to see it acknowledged for their excellent work. While I enjoy foreign films, it is rare for me to rank them higher than an American equivalent. Ove is one of those films. I hope that they never adapt this with English speakers because nothing can ever top the original Swedish version (sound familiar, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”?) Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Score, even Best Picture – I would have nominated Ove for all them. “A Man Called Ove” is a must-see for every movie fan. You will laugh its dark humor, shed many more tears than you expect (at several times throughout the film), and be left with one of the most perfect endings of any film that you will ever see.
[Pictured: The combination of Lassgård's appearance and acting creates one of the most dynamic performances of 2016]