Poster for Elling

Spring 2004 Main series

Sunday, March 7, 2004 at 4:00pm
Sunday, March 7, 2004 at 7:00pm
Monday, March 8, 2004 at 7:00pm

Empire Theatres, New Minas, NS

Directed by


Rated NR · 1h 29m

Based on one of the most successful novels in Norwegian history and fêted as a 2002 Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee, Elling relates the “odd couple” misadventures of two charming misfits hoping to find their place in society. We first meet our unlikely hero, Elling (Per Christian Ellefsen, I Am Dina), after his mother’s death, as he’s being thrown out of his dilapidated home by the health authorities. Preternaturally shy, fussy and neurotic, Elling has zero experience with the outside world. He is, however, remarkably well-read and his imagination is almost always in free flight. Tossed in a state home, he’s forced to room with the hulking Kjell-Bjarne (Sven Nordin, I Am Dina), a lumbering brute who’s obsessed with sex. Unlike his roommate, Kjell-Bjarne is buoyant, good-natured and anxious to enter the outside world. When they’re summarily kicked out of the home, they’re placed in an apartment together – and that’s when the hard part begins. Super-timid Elling refuses to leave the building or answer the telephone; and he will only allow Kjell-Bjarne to make brief runs to the store. Gradually, however, the outgoing Kjell-Bjarne strikes up a relationship with the woman next door, which drives Elling into a jealous rage. It also forces him to make the most important decision in his life: embrace the fact that he can’t control everything or retreat forever into the seeming safety of his cocoon. Filled with exquisitely observed comic set pieces (including the masterful timing of the pair’s first trip to a restaurant or their first encounter with wine) and distinguished by an offbeat lyricism (an amateur poet, Elling has a unique way of distributing his masterpieces), Elling is nothing if not charming and life-affirming. A huge hit in Norway, Elling, gently directed by first-time filmmaker Petter Naess, is a deceptively good-natured comedy about neuroses, slyly funny and genuinely heartwarming.

“A witty and sophisticated sensibility brings individuality to the classic odd-couple comedy.” – Kevin Thomas, The Los Angeles Times

“Ellefsen and Nordin originated their roles on an Oslo stage, resulting in two lived-in character portrayals which lend this offbeat comedy a sweet sincerity.” – Megan Turner, The New York Post

“A plucky parable about mastering one’s fears, and making connections.” – Steven Rea, The Philadelphia Inquirer

“…arriving at a particularly dark moment in history, it offers flickering reminders of the ties that bind us.” – Stephen Holden, The New York Times