• Golden Globe Awards

A Man Called Ove (Sweden)

Swedish writer Fredrik Backman initially had trouble selling the manuscript for his debut novel, A Man Called Ove, about an elderly curmudgeon fighting his loneliness through an obsession with order in his neighborhood. That difficulty dissipated after the publication of the book in 2012. En man som heter Ove (the Swedish title) has sold 2,8 million copies worldwide, and has become a bestseller in Sweden, the Unites States, and dozens of other countries. In other words, the bar for the film adaption was raised quickly.In the hands of director Hannes Holm, most critics in the Unites States and abroad agree that the film lives up to the novel’s quality. A Man Called Ove has been well received at numerous film festivals. It has been submitted as Sweden’s entry for the Golden Globes as well as the Oscars. Featuring the veteran Swedish actor Rolf Lassgård this portrayal of the angry, unhappy, isolated retiree trying to preserve a sense of control in his neighborhood has moved audiences in Scandinavia and beyond.Holm got started as a television writer and director. His first feature film was the romantic comedy Adam & Eva (1997), followed by Behind Blue Skies (2010), among other films. His Scandinavian audience has been solid for years; A Man Called Ove could widen his reach to a global scale.The story of the book and film has elements reminiscent of Grand Torino, the 2008 drama by Clint Eastwood. In the wry comedy A Man Called Ove, an older gentleman, too, is aggressively trying to resist rapid change in his direct surroundings. But as the story unfolds, Ove is forced to accept, even embrace some of the new people and different perspectives he encounters.As the story has become widely known, Fredrik Backman has become the best-known Swedish writer since Stieg Larsson (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo). Director Hannes Holm hopes to reach a similar status with his film adaptation.