Police find Elling, who looks to me a little older than the 40 years suggested, hiding in a closet after the death of his mother (0:01). After spending two years in a psychiatric hospital where he shares a room with younger appearing Kjell, the two travel to Oslo (0:04) where they share an apartment provided by the state under the limited supervision of social worker Frank.
In a very brief scene Elling walks out of group psychotherapy (0:01).
Elling appears to exhibit concrete thinking when a ticket agent asks whether he wants a one way ticket to Oslo and he asks how many ways there might be (0:05).
As he ventures away from the safety of his new apartment for the first time Elling talks about the "dizziness and anxiety" (0:10) that have dogged him all his life.
Elling tells of the death of his father 2 weeks before he was born (0:12).
Attempting to manipulate Elling with a threat of suicide Kjell tells him, "If you don't like it I'll kill myself" (0:29).
At their first meeting Alfons tells Elling, "Madness is poetry's most important source." (0:50)
Elling: Even judged solely by his storytelling and poetic abilities his intelligence appears to fall above normal, ruling out Mental Retardation. His anxiety away from home suggests agoraphobia, and social anxiety interferes with forming new relationships, but both problems seem to resolve without treatment. An autism spectrum disorder such as Asperger's seems more likely, possibly explaining his awkwardness in relating even to his friend Kjell. Might his anxiety symptoms have resulted only from the fact that his mother kept him isolated until her death?
Kjell: Less inhibited in general than Elling, his difficulty in relating to women despite his prodigious drive to do so frustrate this gentle giant. Perhaps not quite as intelligent as Elling he nonetheless demonstrates aptitude as an automobile mechanic and craftsman. Again I would favor Asperger's, perhaps a milder case than Elling's.
Sadly, I cannot find the sequels, Mors Elling (2003), and Elsk Meg I Morgen (2005), on NetFlix, but you can purchase the trilogy at Amazon.