Elling review

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Kevin Spacey's snapped up the remake rights for this Oscar-nominated Norwegian comedy, so check out the original before Hollywood manages to mess it up.

Just released from the loony bin, prissy Elling (Per Christian Ellefsen) and his pal Kjell Bjarne (Sven Nordin) are housed in a state-run Oslo apartment. Once there, residing under the watchful eye of their social worker, they come to terms with the world outside. For Kjell, this means losing his cherry to his neighbour (Marit Pia Jacobsen), while Elling tries his hand at poetry and becomes an underground sensation.

As you might have guessed, we're not dealing with reality here (mental-health professionals will be up in arms at the characters' treatment), but Petter Naess' film manages to be warm and engaging without recoursing to sickly sentiment. Yet your levels of enjoyment will depend almost entirely on how you react to Elling himself who, thanks to Ellefsen's tic-laden, show-offish performance, emerges as both an endearing social oddball and an aggravating little freak.

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