A Man Called Ove Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Uwe (Rolf Lassgård), a fifty-nine-year-old Swede, lost his wife six months ago. And a few days ago he was fired from the transport company where he had worked for forty-three years. Ove lives in a very nice condominium, the rules of which he himself established when he was still chairman of the board. However, at some point, Ove, who is disliked by many in the condominium for his biliousness, exactingness and quarrelsomeness, was simply not re-elected, and his once best friend, and now his worst enemy Rune (Bjorje Lundberg), became the chairman.

However, now Rune, after a heart attack, does not control her body and does not speak, so Uwe alone has to keep order in the condominium: that cars do not drive around the territory, that bicycles do not park anywhere, that dogs do not shit on the paths, that throwing cigarette butts, sorting garbage – and so on and so forth. Everything is on Uve, everything is on it.

But he was tired of this life. He wants to go up there to meet his wife. Uwe puts his affairs in order and is about to hang himself in the living room. However, at that moment, new tenants began to move into the house next door: Swede Patrick (Tobias Almborg), his Iranian wife Parvane (Bahar Pars) and their two daughters. At first, Patrick could not drive a trailer with things into the alley, then he needed a ladder – in general, Uwe had to help them, cursing what the world was worth.

Well, then this trouble did not stop: as soon as Uwe comes up with some another reliable way to commit suicide, then again Parvane will ask him for something, then the boy who was a student of his late wife will need help – in general, calmly Uwe will definitely not be allowed to die.


“The Second Life of Uwe” is a popular story by the Swedish writer Frederik Backman, and this was his very first work: at one time, Backman read a story in a newspaper about an elderly man who tried to sue the zoo, and from this Frederik got a whole book, which is now released in forty countries around the world, including United States.

Director Hannes Holm wrote the script for the film based on this story and directed it himself. The picture in Sweden was super popular, every sixth inhabitant of the country watched it, it was also nominated for an Oscar in 2016 as “Best Foreign Language Film” and in the nomination “Best Makeup and Hairstyles”.

Films about how a lonely old man, prone to misanthropy, eventually finds the meaning of his remaining life in helping someone – there are a lot of them. Here the animated film “Up” and the picture “Gran Torino” by Clint Eastwood immediately come to mind.

But if “Up” shone only with the initial animated short, and then it was, in general, an ordinary adventure cartoon, and “Gran Torino” also had serious problems with the script, and especially with the ending, then in this case “Second Life Uwe” – the film is much more even and balanced.

It is, in general, quite simple and even predictable: of course, the active and charming Parvane will still melt the heart of even such a grouchy misanthrope as Uwe, and he will help both the neighbor’s family and other people, but in this film everything done very, very carefully and without deliberately squeezing out a tear.

In addition, the film shows Uwe’s entire previous life with various flashbacks: he lost his mother early and was raised by a taciturn father, Uwe was orphaned immediately after receiving a certificate and was forced to go to work on the railway, where his father worked, how he met Sonya – and etc.

I read in some review claims that, they say, there are too many flashbacks and that Uwe’s previous life obscures his current life, so, they say, it would be better to give it all in a small cut at the very beginning, like in the cartoon “Up” , – well, everyone has the right to their own opinion, but as for me – the flashbacks were very relevant and gradually revealed the main milestones in Uwe’s life, and we learn about a couple of key events only at the very end of the film.

Also, another lady critic complained that in the film (and in the book) they are too obviously trying to show as many characters from the multiculturalism series as possible: an Iranian, a young homosexual Arab, a disabled person, a senile. They also dragged a wounded cat here, the lady was indignant. However, she ends her review with the phrase, I quote: “Compared to Uwe, Carlson, beloved by the domestic viewer (and reader), registered on the Stockholm roof, may seem almost like Hamlet,” so, to be honest, there are no questions at all.

It seemed to me that everything here was in moderation. And if today’s Sweden is a truly multicultural country that has hosted a large number of refugees from other countries, then why should this be hidden? Iranian Parvane is not some downtrodden refugee muttering something in Farsi. A pretty and purposeful woman, she speaks excellent Swedish, is learning to drive a car, and everything in her life will be fine without Uwe. The picture shows that it was not Uwe who took custody of her, but rather she constantly pulls and shakes the grumbling widower, only so that he is not left alone with his sorrows. And she forced him to take the cat into the house – Parvane perfectly understood that Uwe would somehow become very attached to this animal.

Great movie, I really enjoyed it. Simple, but catchy for the soul, leaving an excellent aftertaste. After all, the problems shown in the film are the same in various countries, despite the fact that Ove seems to be the embodiment of the national Swedish character: strict, reserved, distrustful of strangers (in every sense of the word). But old age, loneliness, life tragedies and the ability to somehow get out after them and somehow continue to live – it’s all completely international.

So, if you like films about life, staged sincerely, not falsely and imprudently, do not miss this picture, it is quite worthy of viewing.


A Man Called Ove movie meaning / En man som heter Ove

Directed by: Hannes Holm Cast: Johan Wiederberg, Rolf Lassgaard, Bahar Pars, Philip Berg, Ida Engvol, Tobias Almborg, Claes Villegaard, Katharina Larsson, Bjorje Lundberg, Stefan Gedikke


Tragicomedy, Sweden, 2015, 116 min.

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