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Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself (2002)

tomatometer

86

Average Rating: 7.1/10
Reviews Counted: 79
Fresh: 68 | Rotten: 11

Despite its morbid subject matter, Wilbur is a charming and often funny film.

79

Average Rating: 6.7/10
Critic Reviews: 28
Fresh: 22 | Rotten: 6

Despite its morbid subject matter, Wilbur is a charming and often funny film.

audience

72

liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 5,132

My Rating

Movie Info

Danish filmmaker Lone Scherfig, the writer and director of the 12th Dogme 95 film, 2000's critically acclaimed Italian for Beginners, presents this comedy drama starring Jamie Sives and Adrian Rawlins as brothers Wilbur and Harbour. When their mother died early in their lives, it became up to Harbour to keep tabs on Wilbur, the younger and chronically depressed of the two siblings. Now in their thirties, their father has passed away, leaving them to take over the family's used book store. It is

R,

Drama, Comedy

Anders Thomas Jensen, Lone Scherfig

Dec 28, 2004

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All Critics (89) | Top Critics (32) | Fresh (68) | Rotten (11) | DVD (6)

Pretty enjoyable.

May 21, 2004 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Scherfig shows a flair for comic melancholy ... as well as eccentric characters like Wilbur, who initially comes across as off-putting and self-obsessed, but later becomes, if not exactly warm, at least sympathetic.

May 14, 2004 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Wilbur has the ability to suck you in, to make you cheer on the strangest of indulgent families.

May 13, 2004 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Unexpected plot twists keep us interested.

May 7, 2004 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Worth seeing.

May 7, 2004
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Though Scherfig is still partially enrolled in the Dogme school, her movie finds a happy balance with its equally adept eye for wide-screen composition and the raw complexity of real human emotion.

May 7, 2004
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A nice little love triangle drama-comedy about suicide and bookstores.

June 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Scouts
Film Scouts

...the kind of picture one is more inclined to admire than embrace

January 29, 2005 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Lone Scherfig has masterfully combined rather dark, serious topics with a little humor and a lot of humanity.

January 24, 2005 Full Review Source: TheMovieChicks.com

Scherfig presents the message with a creative flair that will appeal to indie film lovers who appreciate well drawn characters

August 29, 2004 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews

Feels schematic, contrived and less genuine.

August 6, 2004
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Wilbur is less about adherence to cinematic restrictions than it is about characters, and Scherfig was able to coax subtle, comic performances from her actors.

June 4, 2004 Full Review Source: Las Vegas CityLife

Although at times too low-key, Wilbur is a humorous and strangely uplifting film about death and dying.

June 3, 2004 Full Review Source: Las Vegas Weekly
Las Vegas Weekly

More plainly dreary than morosely captivating... a movie that seems rather irresolute about exactly what sort of feelings it's hypothetically meant to be conjuring up.

May 31, 2004 Full Review Source: Entertainment Today
Entertainment Today

It's certain parts of the film that I enjoy rather than the film as a whole.

May 27, 2004 Full Review Source: EricDSnider.com
EricDSnider.com

You may laugh, but you won't always like yourself for it.

May 21, 2004 Full Review Source: Orlando Weekly
Orlando Weekly

Amid the bloody pulp that is cinema this season, the director of Italian for Beginners offers a fresh look at the old death wish.

May 17, 2004 Full Review Source: Movie Boeuf
Movie Boeuf

You can almost believe that Sives and Rawlins are brothers, while the oft-used Henderson ... is solid, as usual.

May 14, 2004 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

These fragile, self-destructive people, practically in spite of themselves, manage to charm their way into our hearts.

May 14, 2004 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

Wilbur is strangely romantic, but in no way sentimental.

May 14, 2004

These are characters who are quite worth spending a few hours with.

May 13, 2004 Full Review Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

This is one special movie.

May 7, 2004 Full Review Source: Sacramento Bee
Sacramento Bee

Audience Reviews for Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself

Well, this was definitely a surprise! Dark, yes. Comedy, not so much. Really fantastic writing, and the slow development of characters that aren't contrived or condescending. Even as tired as I was while watching this, I could not stop watching. I found this story mesmerizing....well done.
December 6, 2012
itsjustme2004

Super Reviewer

Mixed feelings on this one. On one hand, very original story and well cast (even Shirley Henderson is very good here. Not nearly as "screetchy" as normal - I am sure she puts that voice on!), also quite funny in a dark way thanks to Julia Davis (I can never take her seriously. I just see Jill from NIghty Night whenever I see her!).
There was just something about the story itself that didn't sit quite right with me. It seemed horrible for Wilbur and Alice to be carrying on behind Harbour's back, and then the final scene seemed disrespectful to Harbour. I don't want to spell it all out and ruin it for those who have not seen this, but those who have will know what I mean. Perhaps I am missing the point, I am not sure...
August 20, 2011
romy861

Super Reviewer

There is something very disjointed about Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself. It almost feels as if it is in a timeless no mans land, void of any distractions or indeed the outside world. Maybe that's why it works so well. The Danes don't half make some great films, Lone Scherfig ticks all the boxes a director should as far as I'm concerned, always giving us something new but never breaking free from the confinements of reality. The acting is good, particularly from Adrian Rawlins who really plays his part as the 'glue' of the story well. I'm always a bit weary of sensationalist titles but don't let it put you off, this is a great little film.
May 4, 2011
SirPant

Super Reviewer

One of the most bizarre films I have ever seen. Not that it's surreal per se, just... very odd. It's touching, well acted, nicely scored, but it's also all over the place and if there was a point to be made - and it felt like there shold be - I didn't get it. Unless it's that suicide is bad.
April 5, 2007
danieljparsons

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Wilbur (Wants To Kill Himself) (UK)
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