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


The life he wanted to end, was just about to begin See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Did You Know?


One of a more or less successful series of foreign language film made by Danish filmmakers using Danish money, after the success of Danish language films around the world. Others include Breaking the Waves (1996), Dancer in the Dark (2000), It's All About Love (2003), I Am Dina (2002), Dogville (2003), Skagerrak (2003) and The King Is Alive (2000). See more »


Harbour: You should never do roast duck according to a cookery book. Never.
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Featured in Filmbyen, la nouvelle Mecque du cinéma? (2007) See more »


Auld Lang Syne
(when Wilbur tries to cook the duck)
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User Reviews

Suicide comedy
20 November 2002 | by Peter ElefantSee all my reviews


Wilbur (Jamie Sives) wants to die, kind of. So every now and then he tries to commit suicide. You know: Pills, wrist slitting, hanging that sort of thing.

He has nothing that ties him to life, but a brother named Harbour.

The brother (Adrian Rawlins) owns a book store, which was left to him by his father. He's a friendly, charming and responsible man, who's flirting with one of two regular costumers, a girl name Alice.

Alice (Shirley Henderson) is a lonely woman, who works as cleaning personal in a hospital, in order to support her daughter Mary (Lisa McKinlay).

Well. Girl meets book store owner, and they fall in love or whatever. So they get married. Meanwhile Wilbur continues his obsession with trying to end himself. The thing about Wilbur is, that he has sex-appeal which is quite... well... appealing. And don't think that Alice hasn't noticed.

Which creates the dilemma, doesn't it? Do we want the older, responsible, nice, kind, calm brother, or his sexual beast of an opposite, Wilbur?


My review

Set in beautiful, but depressing Scotland, Lone Scherfig (The director of Dogma 8: Italiensk for begyndere) has made a small film about love. The story itself is pretty average, but the way this film treats suicide, and the absurdity of wanting to finish life, makes it worth watching. The film is made with subtle humor, tenderness and love.

Well acted this one is. I liked the characters. It is well filmed, also. Almost every scene takes place in the bed, in the bathroom, in the book store, or the hospital. All places, that cry out desperate decadence. You can actually sence death in the scenery, which is no coincidence. A major theme of this film is death and - as a direct consequence - life.

What is not so good about this film is, that it is about virtually nothing. There is almost no development, and unlike films of who are kindred in pace (Virgin Suicides, The Ice Storm) the story is way too structured, and too narrow to just watch and experience. There is a point this film is trying to make, which is a shame. A bit less narrative could have done a film, which is about so little, very good.

Still it is a good film. Very good. I am beginning to use 5 as average. 10 as perfect and 1 as complete rubbish. And giving that, I will give "Wilbur wants to die/Wilbur begår selvmord" 8. A lot of thought and care has gone into this little film, and it does show. From good cinematografy and a good script, to a well polished, melancholic score, this film is worth viewing. It won't kill you, even if you will.

8 of 10.

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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:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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