David R. Henderson  

A Man Called Ove

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I rarely recommend movies on EconLog but this is an exception. My wife and I saw A Man Called Ove last night and loved it. I would give it a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10. It's a familiar story line: a gruff old man (actually younger than me, though) who has a grudge against the world loosens up in response to a family with 2 delightful young daughters who move in next to him. But what makes it special are three things:
1. It isn't at all maudlin.
2. There are so many interesting twists in the plot and in the way his history is revealed, many of which caught me by surprise.
3. Finally, the reason I'm posting on EconLog, which is a site in which a major theme is liberty: the bureaucrats who messed with his life earlier and try to mess with his neighbor's life, and, in the last 20 minutes, the action they take against a state-enabled for-profit meddler. He calls them "white shirts." Related to this, somewhat earlier in the movie, the way he takes private action at his own expense to make a job work for someone who is handicapped.

Please, if you comment, either don't give spoilers or, if you give them, put a big warning in capital letters.


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COMMENTS (7 to date)
Andy writes:

Haven’t seen the movie but I read the book and it was great. So that’s another option if, like me, you prefer reading :)

Thomas writes:

Read the book. Loved it. Thanks for this post; I didn't know that the film had been released

Matthias Goergens writes:

I saw the movie on a plane about a year ago. Great one.

My impression was that for someone with a less marketloving outlook, the white shirts earlier in his life at the company would be seen as representing some 'neoliberal outgrowth'.

Or was their government origin explicitly mentioned?

Matthias Goergens writes:

By the way, you might also enjoy Kitchen Stories and find some economic content:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitchen_Stories

David R Henderson writes:

@Matthias Goergens,
My impression was that for someone with a less marketloving outlook, the white shirts earlier in his life at the company would be seen as representing some 'neoliberal outgrowth'.
I don’t know about neoliberal. That didn’t come across. I’ve also forgotten whether he lumped them with the white shirts later in the movie I mentioned above and/or the ones earlier having to do with the fire.

Matthias Goergens writes:

David, I was using neoliberal in scare quotes to allude to the leftist mainstream meaning of 'everything I don't like in the economy or its regulation (and everything used to be better back in the days, anyways)'. Not the original meaning where it's basically a synonym for the less laden term ordoliberal.

I don't remember they went into much detail about what the Whiteshirts did to the train maintenance company, or did they? So it's up to the viewer's mind to fill in the details.

David R. Henderson writes:

@Matthias Goergens,
David, I was using neoliberal in scare quotes to allude to the leftist mainstream meaning of 'everything I don't like in the economy or its regulation (and everything used to be better back in the days, anyways)'. Not the original meaning where it's basically a synonym for the less laden term ordoliberal.
Ah, I see.
I don't remember they went into much detail about what the Whiteshirts did to the train maintenance company, or did they? So it's up to the viewer's mind to fill in the details.
Correct. I took it as technological change making his job obsolete or, at least, less relevant, and I so put no emotional energy on it. But of course that was my economist’s instinct kicking in.

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