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The Hundred-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared – Movie Review


The Hundred-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared – Review by Frances Winston.

Directed by: Felix Herngren

Starring: Robert Gustafsson, Iwar Wiklander, David Wiberg, Mia Skäringer, Jens Hultén, Bianca Cruzeiro, Alan Ford, Sven Lönn, David Shackleton, Georg Nikoloff

In cinemas July 4th

This wins the award for longest movie title of the year to date! Based on the book of the same name there is no denying it is a bit of a mouthful. And unlike many movie titles it pretty much tells you the basic plot of the movie. This is indeed about a man who on his 100th birthday climbs out the window of his nursing home and effectively disappears. It is also one of the funniest, most heartwarming films of the year so far.

Swedish superstar Robert Gustafsson (who is a mere 50!) plays Allan Karlsson, the 100-year-old of the title. As his retirement home plan a birthday party for him he slips away and heads to the train station. There he gets caught up in a series of events which sees him acquire a gangsters suitcase containing tens of millions!

After the courier carrying the money is accidently killed he enlists the help of a fellow pensioner Julius (Wiklander) and they embark on an adventure which along the way sees them pick up disgruntled shop worker Benny (Wiberg) who soon becomes their accomplice. They find themselves at the beautiful country home of Gunilla (Skäringer) who just happens to have an elephant in her barn and the unlikely foursome bond over outdoor swims and barbeques. Unfortunately Gunilla has a jealous ex-boyfriend who just happens to be the brother of one of the gangsters who is searching for them and the money. Alongside this Allan’s life story is told in parallel and we learn that he has led a colourful life which has seen him mix with some of histories greatest and most notorious figures including Franco, Stalin and a couple of American presidents. Along the way he has inadvertently influenced world history without really trying and that sense of adventure is still evident in his 100 year old self.

Don’t let the fact that this is a Swedish film put you off as it is told in several languages including English as Allan reminisces about his life. Gustafsson is amazing as Allan and does a brilliant job of showing his different stages of aging throughout his life story. The prosthetics used to turn him into 100-year-old Allan are excellent and not in the least distracting as can sometimes be the case. The threads of the story are woven well together and although it hops back and forth from present day to Allan’s past it never feels disjointed. His encounters with historical figures are truly hilarious and will make you rethink everything you knew about some key world events. All of the cast have a great chemistry and the pace never dips throughout.

Although some of the premises may sound silly on paper they never appear so in the film and it builds beautifully to a perfect ending. Well scripted and beautifully shot there is definitely a feel of Forrest Gump about this in the flashback scenes which simply serves to add to its charm. It never takes itself too seriously and yet has an air of gravitas about it. Clever, funny and heartwarming this will make even the biggest cynic laugh out loud.

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