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Wilbur (Wants To Kill Himself)

1 h 44 min200315
After their father's death, brothers Wilbur and Harbour inherit a second-hand bookshop in Glasgow. Wilbur is a melancholy chap who has tried to kill himself many times and his latest in a series of a suicide attempts finds him in hospital where a psychologist called Horst and the head nurse, Moira, decide what he needs is a girlfriend.
Lone Scherfig
Jamie SivesAdrian RawlinsMads Mikkelsen
None Available
Audio Languages

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Supporting actors
Julia Davis
Icon Film Distribution
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Prime Video (streaming online video)
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4.2 out of 5 stars

60 global ratings

  1. 54% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 26% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 12% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 0% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 8% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

coraReviewed in the United Kingdom on 14 September 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Thought Provoking Film
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Apart from the small matter that the film is set and shot in Glasgow, not Edinburgh as the product description would have you believe, the plot summary provided tells you as much as you need to know. This is a charming and thought provoking film which succeeds thanks to the excellent performances of the cast. The biggest name is probably Mads Mikkelsen who is hugely enjoyable in a relatively small supporting role as the psychiatrist working with Wilbur after yet another suicide attempt. The only other familiar name, for me at any rate, is Shirley Henderson who is solid as ever. Jamie Sives and Adrian Rawlins who play the brothers Wilbur and Harbour are both excellent, but I must admit that I had never heard of either of them before seeing them in this.

The title should already give you a hint that this is not a laugh out loud comedy. In fact, I'm not sure if I'd class the film as a comedy at all. What humour there is, is rather dark and very restrained. Wilbur of the title is a bit of a hunk, women like him, but he has a startling history of attempted suicide, not so much because he actually wants to die but rather because he doesn't really want to live. The viewer gets the impression that he does it out of habit, almost like a hobby. Only well into the film do we learn what causes Wilbur's mental problems and start to understand him and why his brother Harbour supports him so selflessly. It's a bittersweet story, and the Celtic gloom of Glasgow and the cavernous bookshop where Wilbur and Harbour live makes for an atmospheric backdrop. The acting is excellent throughout. I absolutely loved the film, but it may not appeal to everybody or at all times. If you like slow and quiet films, it's perfect, if you're feeling down and are looking for a fluffy feelgood film to cheer you up, it may not be the film for you just now.

The DVD is good. English subtitles are available for those who may need them and the following extra features are included:
~~~ Cast and Crew Interviews
~~~ Deleted Scenes
~~~ Out-takes
~~~ Trailer
~~~ TV and Radio Spots
3 people found this helpful
godzilla78Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 07 November 2008
4.0 out of 5 stars
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Christ! At time this film can be horribly depressing....but is pebble-dashed with get moments of comedy (especially the scene in the restaurant)just as some bad news has been broken. It's bleak, odd and very touching. A story of 2 brothers who run a book shop. Wilber wants to kill himself most of the time whilst his brother does all the work. Romance blossoms with the arrival of a mother and her child as well as the supporting cast of oddballs and misunderstood people, including the rather hostile and dysfunctional suicide group. It's certainly not a laugh a minute film but it's a great drama and has plenty of dark, funny moments.
Graham FaircloughReviewed in the United Kingdom on 10 October 2009
4.0 out of 5 stars
Wonderful dark humour
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This is a fun film. The subject matter is dark but witty; the budget was obviously small and so the production focuses on telling a simple story and doing so well.

It's one of those films that could almost just as well have been a stage play. You won't find any CGI graphics and big star names in this film. If you enjoy good storytelling and you ever find yourself laughing at something and then thinking "um, that's not funny", then you might well like this film.
One person found this helpful
MikeReviewed in the United Kingdom on 13 October 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
Unusual topic but worth a watch
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Unusual topic for a film but surprisingly entertaining and with a twist at the end. Worth a watch and well directed by Lone Scherfig who followed on with her next films, An Education, and then One Day.
One person found this helpful
VisaReviewed in the United Kingdom on 31 December 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself
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Great movie, I bought after seeing it on the Tele. First class comedy, with great actors. Love the story.
JoReviewed in the United Kingdom on 27 May 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Five Stars
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good & on time
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United Kingdom on 24 February 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars
A great bittersweet black comedy, with a touch of romance
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I believe the title of this film puts a lot of people off, but the film is really a great black comedy with a splash of added romance. A great Scottish cast put in some fine performances to portray the lives of brothers Wilbur (compulsively suicidal but witty) and Harbour (the older, reliable one) who are left to run their father's Glasgow bookshop when he dies. Add love interest Alice and things get quite interesting as a love triange develops. This film takes an alternative, dark and witty look at the tough topic of suicide but never gets depressing and there are many laugh-out loud moments interspersed to keep the mood light. The film was shown at the 57th Edinburgh International Film Festival and after watching it I tried to convince everyone I know to go and see it! Fans of black comedy will not be disappointed.
18 people found this helpful
ReaderReviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 June 2012
4.0 out of 5 stars
Pretty depressing, but also amusing
Verified purchase
I told my husband I'd bought this and he gave me a funny look when I mentioned the title of the film!

Wilbur (Jamie Sives), is a suicidal young man whos every attempt at taking his own life is scuppered by outside events. Wilbur isn't a "plan it out" type of guy, more an opportunist and attempts suicide whenever it takes his fancy (if you want to look at it like that). His character doesn't seem depressed or hopeless, he just seems to have nothing going on in his life that motivates him. While he has a job as a nursery worker (despite claiming to hate children has a likable honesty about him the kids seem to warm to) but beyond that, nothing else to keep him going. Wilbur's character is the comedy foil in this film. He's obnoxious, arrogant and lacking in any degree of sensitivity to the point where the suicide support group don't want him there...not that he wants to be there.

Despite this Wilbur is popular with the ladies (good looking fella, is Mr Sives!) although he only really shows interest back to either annoy or embarrass them for his own amusement. Jamie Sives is likable in this part despite the character's negativity. Wilbur is very much treat 'em mean, keep 'em keen (although I'm not sure the character is aware that's what he's doing). It's a shame we haven't seen more of Jamie Sives as an actor (at time of writing he has however been in several big BBC producions like Waking the Dead and also plays Jory Cassel in Game of Thrones).

Wilbur's brother Harbour (Adrian Rawlins) is Wilbur's polar opposite personality wise and carries the worries of everyone else on his shoulders. Between ensuring Wilbur doesn't try and kill himself and trying to run their deceased's father's book store, he remains the more sensitive and considerate of the brothers. Harbour falls in love with Alice (Shirley Henderson). Alice is a poor single mother who sells books to the store to put money aside for her daughter Mary. Mary is maybe a little overlooked in this film as she seems to be the glue that binds them all together. Wilbur perhaps sees a little of his past in Mary's situation and has the possibility of finding peace through her. There one bit where he's reading a story from a book called "The Blue Flag" to her, but this isn't something I want to say more about as you'll notice it when you see it.

I can't say much more about the character development from this point without giving the plot away so I won't!

The reasons for Wilbur's suicidal tendencies are hinted at mid-way through the film but never really expanded upon, although keep an ear out for subtle hints that let you see into his psyche. Part of me felt at times his attempts to kill himself were only semi-serious which made me think Wilbur didn't actually intend to die... and then he has several very close calls that dispel that! I did laugh at an early attempt (and this doesn't give away any key point) where Harbour gets a call from Wilbur to say he was killing himself and Harbour finds him in time. Harbour tells Wilbur that he (Wilbur) obviously wanted to be saved which Wilbur hotly denies. Harbour states " phoned me to tell me you were killing yourself!" to which Wilbur states "Yes...I did...but you never let me finish speaking before you came running!" It's little comments like this that provide the black comedy in this film.

So, if I enjoyed this film so much why did I give it one star off? Well, it's went down the Trainspotting route of being too unrealistic in some areas. Wilbur and Harbour are Glaswegian. I just can't visualise any Glasweigan with those names. When I heard the names Wilbur and Harbour I kept thinking about the Kevin Bridges sketch about Glasgow where the city is trying to re-invent itself by putting billboards up with a picture of a young man and the name "Nathan, 23 years old, proud Glaswegian". Bridges says it's not a realistic name in Glasgow and they should have "Wee Mental Davie" as a name instead. I know that's stereotypical and I'm not saying they should have given the lead guys names like Daz and Mental Davie, but Harbour and Wilbur are too unbelievable. An incidental point, I know.... but 'Harbour'?

Secondly, I've never met a Glasweigan who speaks like the cast need to in this film. It's far, far too toned down. I realise that's done to make it more accessible. Trainspotting was also toned down accent wise and it didn't seem entirely believable. Having said that Ken Loach retained the Scots dialect in Sweet Sixteen (set in Greenock) which had to be subtitled for non-Scots! I'm not saying they needed to cast born and bred Glaswegians, but I feel maybe a happy medium could have been reached though. Sives and the young girl who play Mary stand out as actors who have naturally strong accents, but they seem like they're having to reel them in so much it sounds forced. Maybe this is only something (like the name thing) that Scots viewers pick up on and in that, it's again an incidental point.

All in all though, I really enjoyed this film. My personal gripes with little bits of it are just that, personal gripes. If you don't like black humour you may not enjoy this film. It's not particularly uplifting in anyway but it does possess a nice sense of irony. It also leaves the piecing together of Wilbur's backstory to the viewer.

I'd certainly watch it again, as I imagine there are more little bits of information I've missed the first time around. An enjoyable few hours of viewing.

Extras on the disc I have: Cast and crew interviews, deleted scenes, out-takes, trailer and radio spot.
6 people found this helpful
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