Film review: The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (2013)

The premise of this utterly hilarious Swedish film is right there in the title. On his 100th birthday, as the staff of the nursing home where he lives are getting a cake ready for the celebration, Allan Karlsson decides that he has had it with nursing home life. So he climbs out of the window of his room, wanders down to the local bus station, and buys a ticket for as far as the little money he has on him will take him.

But he absentmindedly takes with him on the bus a suitcase that belongs to a young tough-looking biker who had gone to the bus station rest room that was too small to allow him to take the bag with him inside. It turns out that the suitcase contains a huge amount of cash that belongs to a criminal gang. The rest of the film deals with the efforts of the gang members to track down Karlsson and retrieve the suitcase as he wanders around and picks up others on his travels, including an elephant. A police officer is also trying to find him to return him to the nursing home that reported him missing.

In between, we have flashbacks of Karlsson’s adventurous life. He has a passion for just two things: drinking and blowing things up with explosives. This combination results in his life, quite serendipitously, intersecting with those of General Francisco Franco, J. Robert Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Project on the nuclear bomb, Harry Truman, Josef Stalin, Ronald Reagan, and Herbert Einstein, Albert’s extremely dim bulb of a brother. For part of the time he also stumbles into becoming a Cold War double agent, working for both the CIA and the KGB. [UPDATE: I just finished reading the book on which the film is based and in it Karlsson in his life also meets with Chairman Mao, Kim Il Sung, Charles de Gaulle, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon.]

This film is riotously funny. Here’s the trailer.


  1. Avalus says

    If you have not, you should definitifly read the book too! They had to cut quite a bit for the film, so it holds quite a few surprises.

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