En man som heter Ove (A Man Called Ove) (2015)

I started reading the book on May 17, 2017 and after 10 days of on-and-off reading, I abandoned it on May 27, 2017. The story was good enough that I wanted to know what was going to happen next, but alas, the writing was too poor to keep reading.

There were too, too many similes and too much “telling” instead of “showing” in the writing. This is a typical example of a paragraph that drove me nuts:

And when she took hold of his lower arm, thick as her thigh, and tickled him until that sulky boy’s face opened up in a smile, it was like a plaster cast cracking around a piece of jewelry, and when this happened it was as if something started singing inside Sonja. And they belonged only to her, those moments.

To my surprise, the movie had quickly become available on Amazon Prime, which actually helped with my decision to abandon the book, since I could experience the rest of the plot without having to read it.

The synopsis

From its the IMDB entry: Ove, an ill-tempered, isolated retiree who spends his days enforcing block association rules and visiting his wife’s grave, has finally given up on life just as an unlikely friendship develops with his boisterous new neighbors.

The trailer

My thoughts and observations

  1. This Swedish entry for Best Foreign Language Picture (which didn’t win) was, overall, delightful. It had subtitles, but since they only translated the dialogue, there were no similes at all in them! 🙂
  2. This movie has been described as a “heartwarming, feel-good, funny and moving dramedy,” which I don’t disagree with. It wasn’t too feel-good, though—about which I’m glad, because that’s a detrimental characteristic in my assessment of movies.
  3. I loved the way the character of Parvaneh was portrayed by Bahar Pars.
  4. Themes touched upon in this movie included:

    • Friendship
    • Love
    • Loss
    • Loneliness
    • Morality
    • Empathy

It’s rare that I prefer a movie over a book, but this was one of those cases in which I did. My Swedish friend, Lars, said, “The movie was lovely and moving, as was the book in Swedish.” With that, I’m going to chalk up the writing to a poor translation.

Have you seen this movie and/or read the book? If so, what’d you think?

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