The chronically suicidal Wilbur and his good-hearted big brother Harbour are in their thirties, when their father dies, leaving them with nothing but a worn down second-hand bookshop in Glasgow.


Lone Scherfig
10 wins & 21 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Jamie Sives ... Wilbur
Adrian Rawlins ... Harbour
Shirley Henderson ... Alice
Lisa McKinlay Lisa McKinlay ... Mary
Mads Mikkelsen ... Horst
Julia Davis ... Moira
Susan Vidler ... Sophie
Robert McIntosh Robert McIntosh ... Taylor
Lorraine McIntosh Lorraine McIntosh ... Ruby
Gordon Brown Gordon Brown ... Wayne
Mhairi Morrison ... Claire (as Mhairi Steenbock)
Andrew Townsley Andrew Townsley ... Doctor
Coral Preston Coral Preston ... Jenny
Colin McAllister Colin McAllister ... Male Supervisor
Owen Gorman Owen Gorman ... Porter


The good-hearted Harbour has spent his whole life trying to take care of his motherless and suicidal little brother, Wilbur. The brothers are inseparable. When in their thirties, they lose their father and inherit his second-hand bookshop. One day Alice enters the shop with her little daughter. Alice is a cleaning lady at the nearby hospital and she sells the books that the patients leave behind. The daughter Mary yearns for a home where the books don't always get sold. Harbour falls in love with Alice and soon all four of them are closely intertwined in each other's lives - and perhaps even deaths. Written by Laplisse4

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Meet a man dying to live. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some disturbing images | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Director Lone Scherfig considers it her most complete film. See more »


Wilbur: You know, it gets more and more humiliating every time I survive. Why did you have to crash in? Why do you always stick your nose in?
Harbour: But you phoned!
See more »


Featured in Filmbyen, la nouvelle Mecque du cinéma? (2007) See more »


Auld Lang Syne
(when Wilbur tries to cook the duck)
See more »

User Reviews

Fade To Black
28 March 2009 | by valis1949See all my reviews

Although WILBUR WANTS TO KILL HIMSELF is an honest and unflinching look at death and suicide, it manages to evoke overwhelming feelings of compassion and tenderness. Lone Scherfig, the director, has crafted a moving characterization of how individuals respond to the loss of love. Wilbur, played by Jamie Sives, is despondent over the the death of his parents, and he has made numerous attempts at suicide to end his pain. He and his older brother manage the family business, a ramshackle used bookstore. And, when his brother becomes romantically involved with a woman, it seems Wilbur has inadvertently stumbled upon a reason to live. At first, it seems that he is animated by his brother's good fortune, but soon he finds himself romantically drawn to, Alice, his brother's lover and wife to be. Shirley Henderson is resplendent as Alice. She authentically expresses an irresistible yet forbidden attraction to Wilbur, while simultaneously displaying deep affection for Harbour, Wilbur's brother. As the narrative becomes even more tangled, yet never contrived, we are drawn to the true heart of the film-Lone Scherfig's deft and loving examination of the characters' interactions. And throughout all of the gloom and melancholy, the film always manages a light and almost playful tone. Do not let the downbeat subject of this film put you off, WILBUR WANTS TO KILL HIMSELF is truly a heartwarming experience.

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Official Sites:

Official site [Spain]


Denmark | UK | Sweden | France



Release Date:

8 November 2002 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

Dos hermanos See more »


Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,747, 14 March 2004

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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