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:: Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself

Directed by Lone Scherfig, “Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself” is Scherfig’s first English language film and fourth feature. Having gained much appraisal and success with “Italian For Beginners,” “Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself” looks set to do the same, voted most popular film at the Sydney Film Festival.

A beautifully directed and written script, “Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself” centres on Wilbur and Harbour, two thirty something brothers who own and run their deceased father’s second hand bookstore in Scotland. When we meet Wilbur he is in the throws of killing himself yet again and saved by his brother yet again, Wilbur and Harbour are constantly repeating this process throughout the film to a point where one wonders why Harbour doesn’t just let him do it. The situation created between the two brothers is beautifully juxtaposed by ones thirst for life and love and the other’s rejection of it.

After yet another failed suicide attempt, Harbour along with Wilbur’s doctors and psychiatrists suggest that broodingly handsome Wilbur get himself a girlfriend, maybe that will fix him up. Harbour proceeds to introduce Wilbur to a regular customer of the store, petite, frail, single mother Alice, who awkwardly saves Wilbur from an attempted hanging when Harbour is not around. Rejecting the offer, Harbour develops a relationship with Alice and young daughter Mary whom he marries and moves in to their home. Wilbur meanwhile gets himself a girlfriend in the form of his hot-blooded psychiatrist whose willing to do anything to be with him.

The drama unfolds when slowly but surely Wilbur doesn’t want to kill himself anymore and instead finds love, whilst Harbour finds himself inevitably inching closer to the other side of the spectrum.

Described as a “romantic black comedy,” “Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself” surely fits the bill. The script is peppered with comedic moments especially from Wilbur and his perspective on his ongoing attempted suicides. Although his motivations are never overtly stated, it doesn’t need to be, as the brilliantly charming Jamie Sives portraying him gives enough of his performance to concern the audience with his present emotional state. Adrian Rawlins as Harbour is the perfect contrast to Sives’ Wilbur, as is the chemistry between the two brothers and Alice (Shirley Henderson). Julia Davis as Moira Wilbur’s psychiatric nurse also provides some moments of comedic relief.

Written by Scherfig and Anders Thomas Jensen, both have a strong and varied background in Danish Dogme cinema. Beautifully shot with wonderful set design that serves to isolate the two brothers and draw on innate their differences. A gentle moving film with heart that is a warm welcome and relief from the mediocre pick at the cinemas of late.