A Man Called Ove (2015)
A quiet discussion group this time, perhaps nearly everyone had gone home to watch the Queen have tea with Paddington Bear.
We started by thinking about the pronunciation of Ove – which should rhyme with ‘Hoover’. Of course, we all enjoyed this heart-warming Swedish film, which was crammed with good values and often dark humour. This made it more of a challenge to discuss. Although Ove as a character was officious, some of us found his emphasis on rules and standards to be understandable. It must be an age thing. However, he did mellow by the end of the film.
We were pleased to have some members of the discussion group who had read the book. One found it “compelling.” For those who were new to the story, there were a few shocks and surprises along the way. I liked the way Ove’s obsession with checking closed gates and doors reflected his own locked down personality.
The representation of the straight-speaking refugee Iranian woman who moved into his housing estate was very positive and there were no stereotypes at all. There were moments of real humour and warmth between Ove and her young daughters.
The way Ove creates disability access for his wife to her school was way ahead of its time. I did like the glimpse into her classroom with young people with learning disabilities and the uplifting messages about teachers changing lives. The goodness that Ove’s wife gave to her pupils is shown to have a long-lasting effect on them.
Some elements showed differences in culture, for example, the war between Saab and Volvo ownership and the issue with a private healthcare company wanting to take his disabled neighbour away. Also all the talk of “whiteshirts” - authority figures. We wondered what the upcoming American re-make, A Man Called Otto, with Tom Hanks, would make of all this.
We also discussed subtitles and modern ways of filming, using hand held cameras. Some of us found this “queasy.” We were reminded of the Tunbridge Wells Poetry Festival https://kentandsussexpoetry.com/tunbridge-wells-poetry-festival-2022/
The short films were much enjoyed, especially one that highlighted the rituals and sensory side of reading a book. The amazing work of a book fore-edge painter was new to everyone.
We went home to find out how the Jubilee concert went and to have a marmalade sandwich as a bedtime snack.