Danish director Lone Scherfig burst onto the world stage with her winning Dogme feature Italian for Beginners. The same element of whimsy and charm has carried over to her follow-up. A hilarious film about suicide (no, it’s not impossible), the English-language Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself stars Jamie Sives as the titular character, a man who manages to keep ruining his own suicide attempts. But when Wilbur’s understanding brother falls in love with a single mom, Wilbur suddenly finds reason to live, even if he can’t quite kick his habit of trying to die.
The acting in Wilbur is great across the board, and Scherfig’s obvious compassion for her characters is wonderfully reminiscent of her debut. Even the storyline, the weakest link, is still affecting and engrossing. However, the film’s casual attitude toward adultery is disconcerting and out of place, and the romantic relationships feel over-determined, as if the need to hook everyone up takes precedence over telling a compelling story. Wilbur feels like a sophomore effort—it’s not as marvelous as the first but still shows enough promise to look to the future.