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WILBUR WANTS TO KILL HIMSELF

Josh Bell

Wilbur (Jamie Sives) doesn't really want to kill himself. He's one of those people who uses suicide attempts as cries for attention: In the film's opening, he calls brother Harbour (Adrian Rawlins) as he lies on the floor of his apartment, inhaling gas from an open oven.


It's actually a very funny scene, and if you can reconcile the darkness of a subject like suicide with sweet family comedy, you'll find a lot to like about Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself, the first English-language feature from Danish writer-director Lone Scherfig. Scherfig tells the story of Glaswegian brothers Wilbur and Harbour, who've inherited a used-book store from their recently deceased father. Wilbur is brooding and depressed, attempting suicide no less than four times over the course of the film, but he's also a handsome charmer who works at a day care and is always being chased by women.


When Harbour marries store patron and single mom Alice (Shirley Henderson), the three, along with Alice's daughter Mary (Lisa McKinlay), become a supportive and close-knit family. Tragedy eventually strikes, but Scherfig balances all the gloom with clever and light comedy and tender family dynamics. Although at times too low-key, Wilbur is a humorous and strangely uplifting film about death and dying.

  • Get More Stories from Thu, Jun 3, 2004
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