Film Review

The Worst Person in the World : On the struggle of becoming your own person.

Directed by Joachim Trier, "The Worst Person in the World" is one of the most interesting creations of Norwegian cinema in 2021.

Publisert Sist oppdatert

Norway’s Oscar candidate for Best International Feature Film tells the story of Julie, superbly portrayed by Renate Reinsve, the laureate of the Best Female Actress award at the 74th Cannes Film Festival. Julie represents the archetype of the indecisive Millenial, who has too many for their own good options and opportunities. There are few career paths she hasn’t tried- from medicine, through psychology, photography, writing, and then back to photography again. She seems to have it all: family support, wits, beauty, and a great sense of humour. Yet there is nothing she can stick with, nothing that doesn’t bore her after a while.

Despite that, Trier manages to avoid falling into the trap of the flat and uninteresting “back in my days”, complaining about the “today’s youth” narrative. Julie is a real human being, complicated and multifaceted. Her story is told in 12 chapters, a prologue, and an epilogue. Each chapter portrays a different issue- challenging relationships with parents, romantic relationships, infidelity, sexuality in the #MeeToo era, sickness and loss, parenthood and bodily autonomy. It’s a fresh and beautifully made take on the coming-of-age genre. The non- consistent structure of the film, with chapters that have no set duration and the non-chronological order of events, makes the story-telling ever more interesting and captivating, leaving the viewer with the impression that there is so much more that could be told and a sense of wonder and longing for seeing the missing chapters.

Renate Reinsve brings out the best in the character. She manages to make the viewers fall in love with the person whose inability to finally make up her mind can be infuriating at times. Julie tends to balance on the verge of what would be considered morally acceptable actions, seems to be wasting her potential, and makes what looks like outright stupid life decisions. Yet those decisions, however silly or wrong, are always hers. She never shies away from trying something new and refuses to believe that one is bound to follow the path they’ve chosen in the past if it starts to feel like a wrong one to keep on.

The Worst Person in the World is the Norwegian film to see this autumn. Whether you are a fan of Scandinavian cinema and will keep your fingers crossed for it to get even more recognition and awards, or just want to see your favourite places in Oslo on the big screen, or simply are looking for a good dark romantic comedy-drama, The Worst Person in the World is worth the trip to the cinema.

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