Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself (2004) - Rotten Tomatoes

Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself (2004)



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

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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 there that they encounter Alice (Shirley Henderson), a hospital janitor who sells the books that patients leave behind, and her young, optimistic daughter, Mary (Lisa McKinlay). Together, the four form a bond that changes each of their lives, with Harbour falling in love with Alice and Mary's sunny demeanor giving the suicidal Wilbur a reason to live. The first English-language effort from Scherfig, Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself was nominated for best film at Denmark's 2003 Bodil Awards.
R (for language and some disturbing images)
Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


Jamie Sives
as Wilbur
Adrian Rawlins
as Harbour
Julia Davis
as Moira
Susan Vidler
as Sophie
Colin McAllister
as Male Supervisor
Owen Gorman
as Porter
Anne Maire Timoney
as Night Nurse
Elaine Mackenzie Ellis
as Suicide Patient 2
Des Hamilton
as Butcher
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself

Critic Reviews for Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself

All Critics (79) | Top Critics (28)

Pretty enjoyable.

May 21, 2004
Orlando Sentinel
Top 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
Miami Herald
Top Critic

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

May 13, 2004
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

Unexpected plot twists keep us interested.

Full Review… | May 7, 2004
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Worth seeing.

May 7, 2004
Detroit News
Top 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

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.

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

The movie's subject matter is very dark and downbeat, but somehow the director manages to make a romantic comedy out of it. As bizarre as it may sound, it actually works. There were several scenes where I wanted to cry and laugh at the same time... I guess that's the idea of a black comedy.

Gabriel Knight
Gabriel Knight

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...

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

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