Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself

Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself (UK/Denmark, director Lone Scherfig): I found the emotional arc of the story a bit weird, but enjoyed the film nonetheless. You see, suicide itself is not funny. But Wilbur keeps trying to kill himself in various ways which I think are supposed to be funny. Meanwhile, his longsuffering brother Harbour (hmmm…symbolism?) has just buried their father and now has no relief since he’s constantly worried about Wilbur. Then something wonderful happens. Harbour meets and falls in love with Alice, and her nine-year-old daughter Mary. They marry, and all seems well, even despite Wilbur’s almost successful suicide attempts. Then a new crisis hits.

I don’t want to spoil the film, but let me just say that things get better for Wilbur once he learns that other people need him. I was complaining to my friends that British films like this one (well, it’s a British/Danish coproduction) tend to hide their saccharine with lots of swearing. There wasn’t an unusual amount of swearing, but Wilbur’s surliness is paper-thin, hiding the proverbial “heart of gold” underneath. He’s the typical “bad boy” that women find irresistible. Harbour is the typical saint/martyr who is kind but just a bit dull (in fact, why didn’t they just call him “Safe” Harbour?). Alice, of course, loves both of them.

So although the film was tremendously acted, and had some great secondary characters (Julia Davis as sexy but flaky nurse Moira was hilarious, as was the psychologist played by Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen), I was just a little bit disappointed with the main characters. I thought a film like About A Boy took the suicide issue just a bit more seriously, while still finding abundant humour elsewhere.


This entry was posted in Film Festivals, TIFF. Bookmark the permalink.