Writer-director Joachim Trier presents a compelling story via an prologue, 12 chapters and an epilogue in The Worst Person in the World. The unusual treatment of the narrative by Trier and co-writer Eskil Vogt works nicely.
The film follows beautiful and buoyant Julie (Renate Reinsve). She was a decent and friendly person who could be happy, loving … and argumentative. She was going to be a doctor, then a psychologist, then a photographer and ended up working in a bookshop. As a young woman, she enjoyed the company of men and had a number of relationships before finding love with one 14 years her senior. He adored her and she cared deeply for him, but she was searching for more.
Settling down didn’t mean she was settled. Julie was looking to find herself and stand up for what she believed in and wanted. Nearing 30, there was pressure on her to start a family, but she wasn’t ready to do so. An impulsive act changed the course of her future.
Importantly, The Worst Person in the World doesn’t signal its punches. This is a slice-of-life film in which life is simply lived. Decisions are made. Good and bad things happen. There are triumphs and setbacks. Underpinning it all is decency. It’s comedic, romantic and dramatic. The characters appeared genuine to me. They set out to connect, not to hurt others, even if there is hurt along the way.
I found it easy to fall for lead actress Renate Reinsve, the way she inhabits Julie’s skin. So too Anders Danielsen Lie, who’s charming as Julie’s first love Aksel.
The Worst Person in the World gained my interest from the get-go and held it throughout. It’s bound to generate a loyal following among those who appreciate well-made adult cinema.
Other reviews you might enjoy:
- The Souvenir (Kanopy) – movie review
- Book Week – movie review
- Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool – movie review
Alex First is a Melbourne based journalist and communications specialist. He contributes to The Blurb on film and theatre.