Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself
Two Scottish brothers try to handle their late father’s struggling bookshop, while one of them (Jamie Sives) keeps attempting suicide and the other (Adrian Rawlins) courts one of the customers (Shirley Henderson). Director Lone Scherfig and Anders Thomas Jensen wrote their script in Danish and then translated it (and moved it to Glasgow) when they got Scottish financing. As it happens, the film still seems forlornly translated from a foreign tongue. Despite conscientious performances from a good cast, the film begins in a gloomy funk and gets drearier by the minute—a “slice of life” that, however earnestly intended, offers only cheerless Celtic proletarian whimsy. Scherfig and Jensen’s attempts at gentle humor are maladroit—as if, however fluent they are in conversation, they can’t tell a joke.