Oscar nominee A Man Called Ove offers predictable pleasures

Adaptation of best-selling Swedish novel about a cranky widower is manipulative but well-acted

A MAN CALLED OVE (Hannes Holm). 116 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (February 17). See listing. Rating: NNN

A Man Called Ove is an entertaining adaptation of Fredrik Backman’s bestselling novel about a curmudgeonly Swedish widower (Rolf Lassgård) who, annoyed by his loud new neighbours, suddenly finds himself jolted back to life.

The plot is predictable, and Holm’s direction more than a little bit manipulative, but the performances are exquisite. Lassgård’s Scrooge-like Ove, his mouth constantly pinched, is both terrifying and funny, and he’s got a great rapport with Bahar Pars as his pregnant Iranian-immigrant neighbour.

Meanwhile, Filip Berg and Ida Engvoll, as the young Ove and his wife, have a palpable chemistry, although her character is slightly idealized. Nominated for two Oscars, including best foreign-language film.

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