|Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself|
Yes, the story is very serious, with a shadow of death and loneliness hanging over every scene. Yet the characters are so beautifully written and played that they spring to life, bringing with them natural rhythms of life and humour that keeps us smiling right through to the emotional conclusion. It's a remarkable achievement for Sherfig (Italian for Beginners), a gifted filmmaker who proves her skills in the English language with a delicate, witty script and visceral, lush direction that combine to draw us deeply into the lives of these characters. And they're all played note-perfect. Sives is especially impressive in a very difficult role; he looks a bit like Russell Crowe crossed with Colin Farrell, but plays it with a remarkable combination of introspection and impeccable comic timing. Rawlins is equally superb as the two-pronged Harbour--outwardly happy and inwardly tortured, just trying to get on with life as best he can. Meanwhile, there's a series of stunningly well-drawn side characters who liven things up considerably ... and add textures that make the film even more meaningful and moving. Don't let the title put you off; this is one of the most wonderfully life-affirming films you'll see all year.
dir Lone Scherfig|
scr Lone Scherfig, Anders Thomas Jensen
with Jamie Sives, Adrian Rawlins, Shirley Henderson, Lisa McKinlay, Mads Mikkelsen, Julia Davis, Susan Vidler, Gordon Brown, Robert McIntosh, Lorraine McIntosh, Mhairi Steenbock, Coral Preston
release US 17.Oct.03; UK 5.Dec.03
Bedtime story: McKinlay and Sives.
|Judith Menzel, Germany: "What a horribly pretending-to-be-human film! The message that comes across to me is such rubbish! I very much liked Italian for Beginners; I also like the Scandinavian Dogme films, their directors and the actors in this film. Having once worked in Glasgow I was curious to watch the movie. Only the message behind it all made me furious: Those who have all the advantages anyway don't realize it and exploit others who are less advantaged and more altruistic. This film obviously says that this is the way it has to be and we better accept that. Why does Harbour not become bloody furious at his spoilt brother and his ungrateful wife? Sorry, but I don't quite get this charming, human touch." (8.Nov.03)|