There’s a book you may have heard of in recent years. It’s called A Man Called Ove and it was a worldwide bestseller.
The main character is a fellow named Ove who has known heartbreaking tragedy and who is getting on in age. He recognizes, as many of us do at a certain time in life, that the world has left him behind.
The book was written by Swedish author Frederik Backman. Published in 2012, it has been on my reading list for nearly a decade. A Swedish movie was made a few years ago. Last year, every time I went to the movies, there was a preview for a new American version that looked really good.
It opened nationwide earlier this month so I had to hustle to read the book first.
The book was one of the best I have read in the last two years. It was actually exactly what I needed. Ove’s character and his motives are layered and complex. His actions, while foreign and misunderstood by many around him, made perfect sense to me.
The story is told from his perspective so you get tremendous insight into the man. I laughed out loud in many places and found others quite sobering.
You get less of that with the new movie. Tom Hanks does a nice job translating Ove to the big screen as he stars in A Man Called Otto. Don’t ask. I have no clue why they changed the name. Regardless of what you call the character, the film shows some of the complexities of the man. It mixes the bad with the terrible, the funny with the cranky and the good that is this man. It’s not as funny as the previews might suggest. I did laugh. It is amusing but I felt like whoever made that trailer didn’t see the entire movie or understand the point.
Two days later, I was able to see the original film, the Swedish made A Man Called Ove which requires subtitles since I don’t understand the language.
I thoroughly enjoyed this rendition as well. It could be the subtitles throwing me off but this Ove doesn’t come off as complex as he is simply angry. All the same, actor Rolf Lassgård gives a great performance and I enjoyed this one too. You should see it as well.
It got me thinking about life and temperament and how we manage the things life sends our way. It’s rarely all good or all bad. If you take someone else’s interpretation of a story as fact, you’ll get the things they want you to know or consider.
If you get the whole story, in this case the book version, you’ll find much more detail and opportunities to judge for yourself. As much as I enjoyed both movies, I’ll take the book any day. In fact, read it first and I promise you’ll better appreciate both movies.