When his mother, who has sheltered him his entire 40 years, dies, Elling, a sensitive, would-be poet, is sent to live in a state institution. There he meets Kjell Bjarne, a gentle giant and... See full summary »


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Complete credited cast:
Sven Nordin ...
Marit Pia Jacobsen ...
Frank Åsli
Per Christensen ...
Hilde Olausson ...
Ola Otnes ...
Eli Anne Linnestad ...
Johanne (as Eli-Anne Linnestad)
Cecilie A. Mosli ...
Cecilie Kornes (as Cecilie Mosli)
Joachim Rafaelsen ...
Haakon Willum
Per Gørvell ...
Eriksen (as Per Gørvel)
Knud Dahl ...
Servitør på bar
Knut Haugmark ...


When his mother, who has sheltered him his entire 40 years, dies, Elling, a sensitive, would-be poet, is sent to live in a state institution. There he meets Kjell Bjarne, a gentle giant and female-obsessed virgin in his 40s. After two years, the men are released and provided with a state-funded apartment and stipend with the hope they will be able to live on their own. Initially, the simple act of going around the corner for groceries is a challenge. Through a friendship born of desperate dependence, the skittish Elling and the boisterous, would-be lover of women, Kjell Bjarne, discover they can not only survive on the outside, they can thrive. But as their courage grows, the two find oddball ways to cope with society, striking up the most peculiar friendships in the most unlikely places. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


They're packed and ready for the greatest adventure of their lives. All they have to do is get out of the house.


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some sexual content | See all certifications »




Release Date:

16 March 2001 (Norway)  »

Also Known As:

Brødre i blodet  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


NOK 15,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$9,606 (USA) (31 May 2002)


$313,436 (USA) (4 October 2002)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Every scene from Elling's neighborhood were shot around Majorstuen, on Oslo's west side. The locations, such as the grocery store where he hides his poems in packages of sauerkraut, and the diner where they eat dinner are all very real places. Both in name and appearance the shop and diner look exactly the same today. See more »


[Elling is about to order two train tickets to Oslo]
Train ticket salesman: Yes?
Elling: Yes!
Train ticket salesman: You're going to?
Elling: Yes, we! Kjell Bjarne and I are going to Oslo of course.
Train ticket salesman: One way?
Elling: There are more ways?
See more »


Followed by Love Me Tomorrow (2005) See more »


Glade Jul
(Fr. Grueber, bearbeidelse Per Stenberg)
(c) Sølveguttene - Torstein Grythe
See more »

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User Reviews

Hold on to your dream
9 February 2003 | by (Istanbul, Turkey) – See all my reviews

This is the main theme of the film: Hold on to your dream and never give up in life.

I think Per Christian Ellefsen's performance as Elling was pretty much the best acting I've seen in my life. Sven Nordin reminds a little bit of Gerard Depardieu, and the character he plays reminds a tiny bit of Lenny of "Of Mice And Men" but more intelligent.

It's the story of two men who are apparently too old to start their "own" lives, but virtually have to do so by all means as a result of their lives up to date. Neither of them is substantially retarded or mad, just a little bit over-eccentric which makes things harder for them. One day, the competent authorities of the Norwegian government decide to release them from their "captivity" in the institution, and give them a chance to live a "real life" on their very own, and social worker Frank is there to assist them. It won't be easy for the two socially-impaired men, but it will turn out to be easier and nicer than they (especially Elling) fear.

The rest is for you to watch in the film. And by all means, watch it! Per Christian Ellefsen's acting is absolutely fascinating, and everything is well put in the scenario. A beautiful film from a beautiful country.

23 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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