This guide comes from our archive. It was written by Rachel Helen Smith.
Allan Karlsson (Robert Gustafsson) has lived an extraordinary life. Orphaned at a young age, he becomes an expert in explosives. Before long he has not only witnessed some of the most pivotal moments in the twentieth century, but in fact played an important role in them. Whether meeting presidents, fighting in wars or working on the atomic bomb, Allan seems to change the course of history wherever he goes.
On his 100th birthday, which he will be spending in a retirement home, Allan decides that he is not ready to give up on adventure. Escaping the birthday party that the nursing staff have planned, he climbs out of his window and heads for the bus station. It is the start of an absurd odyssey that sees Allan on the run from a gang of drug dealers, accompanied by an elephant. Allan’s approach to it all is best summarised in his mother’s dying words: ‘Whatever will be, will be.’