Film review

Elling

OPENS MARCH 14, CERT 15, 90 MINS

The cinema doesn't have a glowing record when it comes to mental illness, with films tending to veer between sentimentality, low humour or patronage. Petter Næss' unassuming, winning film—Norway's Foreign Language Oscar nominee last year—gets it about right, presenting us with a pair of troubled characters who are likeable and interesting rather than ingratiatingly colourful or deeply disturbed. Friends Elling (Per Christian Ellefsen) and Kjell Bjarne (Sven Nordin) are released from a state institution and moved into an Oslo apartment in the hope that together they'll be able to fit back into society. Nothing that transpires is played too broadly; the slightly odd couple cling to one another while taking their first tentative steps through their new lives, gradually becoming independent in their own sweet, strange ways. It's hard to see quite what prompted Kevin Spacey to pick up remake rights, but sadly it' s easy to envisage the hash that Hollywood might make of this gently moving and amusing film.

Rating: 3 / 10


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