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There are some serious moments but on the whole the film is very upbeat. You find yourself rooting for Elling and Kjell Bjarne hoping that the friendship they have built doesn't come tumbling down as they each make new friends and are drawn in differing directions. It's a touching movie with laughs and a few tugged heartstrings. There is a moment at the end of the movie that has you more than hoping for an upbeat ending.
Don't let the fact that Elling a foreign film put you off. The film still gives you the full gambit of emotions without you having to understand a word of Norwegian. The film comes with easy to read subtitles and a story line that's easy to follow.
This adaptation of Norwegian writer Ingvar Ambjorsen's best selling novel is a nuanced view of the lives of two mentally ill wards of the state as they struggle to adapt to living as roommates; and they try to make sense of often puzzling and arbitrary codes of "normal" social behavior. At times it is hilarious, but just as Director Peter Naess lures you into a warm and fuzzy feeling, he gives you a glimpse at the simmering rage of his main characters Elling and Kjell. Having worked as a case worker for transitional mental health patients, I can say that "Elling" is the only film I've ever seen that "gets it right" and doesn't approach the subject of mental illness in a condescending or derivative manner. Elling and Kjell aren't lovable loonies or dangerous whackos from central casting. There is a great deal of humor in "Elling" but none of it is used to demean or stereotype the principal characters.Read more ›
Two guys in Oslo, terminally mismatched, pair up in a home for mentally disturbed adults. One is huge and maybe a little stupid and full of rage. The other is a bright but wounded and sheltered momma's boy - but then Momma died. After years of therapy (it's not clear how long they're institutionalized), they're released to try to make it on their own, with occasional checkups from a halfway-house sort of social worker who tries to help ease their transition back into society.
Watching these two fellows cope with a ringing phone, feeding themselves, the big bad world outside their apartment, traffic, a pregnant neighbor, and an old poet with a broken car is heartwarming, a little sad at times - but always you find yourself rooting for them to find happiness.
Their small triumphs, larger setbacks, and overall progress make for a touching, unbeat, and absolutely hilarious movie.
In spite of lukewarm reception by American critics, Elling is bound to be an audience pleaser. It's full of the knee-slapping variety of funny while simultaneously featuring many moments that pull at the heartstrings. The story follows 2 men as they venture from the safe confines of a mental institution in rural Norway. Elling (the serious, dramatic character) longs only for a basic grasp on the world around him; Kjell Bjarne, the hulking, comedic character, wants something far more basic (though not necessarily easier to come by). Their affection for each other, oddly enough is not the least bit hard to believe. That fact stands as proof that the writing is superb.
I can't recommend this film any more heartily. It will please the masses--the serious set will be happy to see a foreign film; those looking for comedy will not be disappointed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Nice story of two agoraphobics transitioning into everyday life. Based on a book, "Beyond The Great Indoors', by Ingvar Ambjornsen (English translation from Norwegian). Read morePublished 1 month ago by arktikos
I'm seldom in the market for a Norweigian-language movie, but I picked this up on a friend's recommendation.
Glad I did. Read more
This is an adorable movie! You can't help but fall in love with Elling and Kjell Bjarne and cheer them on as they face reality outside of an institution. Read morePublished 10 months ago by A. Adkins
I enjoyed it but probably won't see it again. Too tired right now to say any more.Published 14 months ago by Hoofstep
Two functioning lunatics are released from an asylum to be mainstreamed into society. They are to share an apartment in the middle of the city under the watchful eye of a social... Read morePublished 15 months ago by mystery maven
This is an entirely enchanting tale of 2 grown men who have been institutionalized for years, then set lose in the city to fend for themselves. A Norwegian odd couple, with charm. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Julie Ridge
One of the funniest moves seen in years. Two opposites are dischraged from the mental institution and anre roomates that need to make it in the wide world. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Deborah C. Evans
More than anything, this movie has heart. I was pleased with the way the film portrayed people living with mental illness in the sense that it didn't use the usual stereotypes or... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Guest
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