English Title: A Man Called Ove
Starring: Rolf Lassgårdm, Bahar Pars
Also Starring: Magic, Orlando
Directed by: Hannes Holm
Cat Out of the Bag Alert! This review contains MAJOR spoilers for this film!
Synopsis: Based on the popular novel by Fredrik Backman. Ove (Rolf Lassgårdm) is a cantankerous older man who has reached the point where life doesn’t seem worth living until the people around him see more in him than he sees in himself.
Featured Feline: Ove lives in a housing development with strict association rules which he enforces, even though he is no longer president. He spends much of his time walking around the grounds, taking justice into his own hands when he sees a violation. As he walks around the complex, a female Ragdoll cat often follows him. He tries to scare the cat away but it does not seem to deter the animal. In the book the cat is referred to as “The Cat Annoyance”.
While Ove does not like the cat, he still comes to the rescue when a woman with a dog (whom he also despises) is caught throwing stones at the poor thing. Ove chases the woman away. He even comes back outside with some food and looks for the cat but it is gone.
One of Ove’s new neighbors is a pregnant woman named Parvaneh (Bahar Pars) who takes a liking to the man even though he is initially very rude to her and her husband. Parvaneh is with Ove when she finds the cat injured outside his door.
Against Ove’s wishes, she insists they take the cat inside his home and that Ove find something to keep the cat warm. At that point a neighbor named Jimmy (Klas Wiljergârd) comes in and takes his shirt off, warming the cat against his chest. When both Parvaneh and Jimmy say they can’t take the cat because of allergies (Parvaneh’s children and Jimmy remembers he himself is allergic) it is clear the care of the cat will fall to Ove.
Ove reluctantly takes on the responsibility and over time the cat becomes a constant companion.
Ove even takes the cat with him to visit his wife’s grave.
Ove also becomes close to many of the residents of the community, helping them when they need him.
He even lets a young man named Mirsad (Poyan Karimi) move in with him when he has nowhere else to go.
Now others, including the cat, follow Ove on his rounds.
Near the end of the film, Parvaneh and her husband find that Ove has passed in his sleep, the cat lying forlornly on the man’s chest.
The part of the unnamed cat was played by cats Magic and Orlando who were not trained cat actors. According to online sources, Magic’s specialty was the ability to not be scared away easily, a must for this role opposite the frustrated Ove. Orlando was brought in when the cat character needed to stay in one place for a period of time. The cats were so similar that the wrong one was often taken to the set for the wrong actions! In an interview director Hannes Holm explained how the production company originally did not want to include the cat character in the film but he fought for the inclusion, pointing out all the fans of the book who loved the cat.
Purr Blur: Just before the final scene in which Ove is found dead, he is driving one of Parvaneh’s daughters in his car. As they travel down a winding road, a black cat crosses in front of the car. Likely a hint of what’s to come.
Final Mewsings: It’s a shame that a movie with such a positive feline character felt the need to throw in a stereotypical black cat bad omen.
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