THEY’RE PACKED AND READY FOR THE GREATEST ADVENTURE OF THEIR LIVES. ALL THEY HAVE TO DO IS GET OUT OF THE HOUSE.
This Norwegian box office hit even managed to score an Oscar nomination, and it is certainly a very charming tale. Per Christian Ellefsen and Sven Nordin are funny and moving as two guys released from psychiatric care who are given the chance to live normal lives in an Oslo apartment. Just learning how to answer the phone and order food at the local diner takes hard work but the former patients are making progress. Particularly engaging is the character of Elling, who may have read many books but is lost outside their world. Several amusing sequences, but the formula is a bit obvious, complete with a baby born near the end.
2001-Norway. 89 min. Color. Produced by Dag Alveberg. Directed by Petter Næss. Screenplay: Axel Hellstenius. Novel: Ingvar Ambjørnsen. Cast: Per Christian Ellefsen (Elling), Sven Nordin (Kjell Bjarne), Per Christensen (Alfons Jørgensen), Jørgen Langhelle, Marit Pia Jacobsen.
Trivia: The novel was also turned into a play. Followed by two sequels, starting with Mother’s Elling (2003).
Last word: “The success of ‘Elling’ was hard to foresee! I think there’s a lesson here, that you have to be personal in your storytelling and have characters and stories that you have empathy for. I’ve found, when I’ve introduced the film at festivals, that the neuroses, anxieties, and traumas of the characters are universal. It’s also the Norwegian language and environment which seem exotic to people, if they come from, say, India or Spain.” (Naess, BBC Films)