Elling [2001]

Genre: Comedy, Drama
This Norwegian comedy (nominated for an Academy Award®) concerns two men being released from a state home. Until the death of his mother, Elling rarely left the apartment where they lived; Kjell has lived in institutions most of his life and is obsessed with sex, as any virgin in his 30s might be. Thanks to a new social program, the two roommates are given an apartment in Oslo--if they can manage to live independently. At first simply answering the phone or buying groceries is a struggle, but as they taste freedom, their lives become an exciting adventure. In a Hollywood movie, these two would be cute goofballs; what makes Elling so very engaging is how genuinely awkward and uncomfortable Elling and Kjell are. Their difficulties in the world are treated with respect and realism, which makes their progress bracing and their success delightful. A charming film. --Bret Fetzer

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