Films U Missed: Elling – A Movie Review
Elling, a Swedish-film from 2001, has all the charm and wit reminiscent of a Jean-Pierre Juenet film, like Amelie. Elling is a small comedy about a pair of misfits who end up in a boarding home as adults and then are released into the public to live their own lives. They face a world of uncertainties, life moving at a speed too fast for their general comfort. But the film explores their awakenings and ultimately their growth as individuals in Oslo, Norway.
Elling is the lead character in the film of the same name. He’s a diminutive man with many insecurities, but intellectual curiosity continuously bubbling beneath the surface. His roommate in the boarding house, and in the apartment they share when released, Kjell Bjarne (KB for this review) is a brutish giant who cares and thinks of sex during 99% of his days. The duo become perfect foils for one another. When Elling zigs, KB zags.
As adults they are given their own rooms in a large apartment, being looked after by Frank Asli. Frank wants them to become assimilated into society to show that they can indeed function on their own. The duo make it their first order of business to move their beds into a shared bedroom, so that they can feel like they did in the boarding home. Not quite the results that Frank was looking for. Whether its answering the phone, visiting the store for groceries or actually venturing out of the house for something more, each endeavor becomes an adventure.
‘Elling’ Has Stellar Performances By Sven Nordin and Per Christian Ellefsen
As the duo grows, and learn to actually grate on each other like a married couple, the film’s paces pick up. KB falls for a neighbor, who’s an apparent drunk with a child yet to be born. Alas, KB is smitten to the chagrin of Elling. Elling, on the other hand, ventures to an underground poets reading, sipping on orange sodas and meeting a strange man in the process. An unlikely new friendship is forged. The movie, Elling, has all the trappings of a nice tongue in cheek comedy, a fish out of water play for viewers to revel in.
Elling and KB, acting as the excited school kids they mentally are, eventually get to go away on a weekend with their friend and potential KB lover for a final act of adventure. The weekend brings some new drama and adventure. The film wraps up with a huge, hang in the air reveal, which fills director Peter Naess’ film with an appropriate moment of discovery. Elling is a pleasure to watch for fans of independent, idiosyncratic, small time cinema. Cute and worthy as a film you likely missed.