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Overall Rating
3.51

Awesome37.84%
Worth A Look: 27.03%
Average: 5.41%
Pretty Bad: 8.11%
Total Crap: 21.62%

2 reviews, 25 user ratings


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Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself
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by Stephen Groenewegen

"Death wish"
1 stars

Danish director Lone Scherfigís follow-up to Italian for Beginners is an English-language film set in Glasgow. Wilbur is Euro-whimsy-by-numbers, with characters and situations that are grating, rather than ingratiating.

The titular Wilbur (Jamie Sives, with more than a passing resemblance to Robbie Williams) regularly attempts suicide in the attention-seeking manner of a spoilt child. Older brother Harbour (Adrian Rawlins) is measured and gentle and a little dull, to counteract his arrogantly handsome and petulant sibling. Harbourís saddled with that name because heís a protective home for the other troubled characters. When Harbour meets - and promptly marries - Alice (Shirley Henderson), things seem to be looking up. Then he receives some bad news, just as Alice begins reassessing her view of the difficult Wilbur.

I found the self-conscious quirkiness of Wilbur irritating in the extreme. Thereís a parade of one-dimensional background characters, from a dopey nurse with a new outlandish hairdo in every scene (Julia Davis) to a dour, chain-smoking Dane psychologist (Mads Mikkelsen). Alice is a single parent, so thereís an obligatory precocious child (Lisa McKinlay). The jokes in Wilbur are so clearly signposted, itís a wonder there isnít a laugh track. Writers Scherfig and Anders Thomas Jensen even offensively reduce suicide to a series of limp visual gags.

Sives and Rawlins are initially personable enough to negotiate the twee tone and sillier plot twists. I liked the idea of Wilbur as a nursery teacher beloved by his kids for being as immature as them. But any inkling of tolerance I had for the characters vanished when Wilbur took its mawkish nosedive into simpering disease-of-the-week territory. Scherfig proves fellow countryman Lars von Trier hasnít cornered the market on cinematic martyrdom in the region.

Iím not sure whether Wilbur is a maudlin film with a nasty streak, or a nasty film with a maudlin streak. Either way, I couldnít care less.

If the 50th Sydney Film Festival were a restaurant, Wilburís a heaped plate of haggis.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=7770&reviewer=104
originally posted: 06/15/03 12:51:25
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Vancouver Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Vancouver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Starz Denver Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Starz Denver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Chicago Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Chicago Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Sydney Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Sydney Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Minneapolis/St.Paul Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Minneapolis/St.Paul Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

1/26/09 Deano it was ok 3 stars
10/18/08 mehmet erdem Łanl worthless amalgam of unlovable characters and a really tepid script 1 stars
11/07/06 I.M. therefore good film 5 stars
6/15/06 bikem seÁen absolutely lovely-bittersweet 5 stars
4/26/04 Terry Peck Worthless - start with a script like this and where can t go? Why give it any stars at all? 1 stars
4/17/04 Wayne Hamilton If you can't enjoy this film you're too serious, jack. 5 stars
4/17/04 Cameron Slick A cleverly cynical, morbidly humorous comedy about death. 4 stars
1/28/04 irena good, "nice" movie if you have some spare time 3 stars
11/09/03 Emelie i loved the film, specally jamie! 5 stars
11/09/03 judith menzel what a horribly pretending-to-be-human film! 2 stars
10/15/03 Lisa I really enjoyed this movie! 5 stars
10/14/03 Clare Very, very good 5 stars
9/21/03 Sandra AWESOME!!! BRILLIANT!!! BEAUTIFUL!!! 5 stars
8/24/03 RGM BRILLIANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
8/18/03 BW Typcial dry Northern European humour which some people clearly just don't get 5 stars
8/09/03 Sarah Jamie Sives won't be an unknown for long. 5 stars
7/31/03 Rose A nice change from huge hollywood fare. 5 stars
7/30/03 Katrine I reckon that the movie is great, Jamie Davis does a great job playing the part of Wilbur.. 5 stars
7/30/03 Dr Nick Appalling acting........and the rest of the film isn't much better 2 stars
7/22/03 RICKO A quirky film, dark yet disquietly funny. Marvellous characters& a good ending. 4 stars
7/13/03 Joe pretty good 5 stars
6/30/03 BjarneBoy LOVE IT :) 5 stars
6/28/03 Olive Beaton Liked it! Gentle, inoffensive, left warm feeling. Sorry not to be 'clever' like the smar 4 stars
6/26/03 erika i love the actors 4 stars
6/15/03 Jerry Eh? 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  12-Mar-2004 (R)
  DVD: 28-Dec-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  31-Jul-2003




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