The Worst Person In The World (orig. title: Verdens verste menneske) | Directed by Joachim Trier | Written by Trier and Eskil Vogt | 127 min | ▲▲▲▲△ | Crave
A version of this review originally appeared on FITI in September 2021 when I caught this film at FIN: Atlantic International Film Festival.
The third part of Trier’s loose Oslo trilogy — simply named because these are three films he made in the Norwegian capital — this picture is a wonderful romantic dramedy no one who appreciates such films should steer clear of — even if they’re not down with subtitles.
She’s Julie, just turning 30 and like a lot of people is still uncertain about the direction she wants to take her life. In her studies she shifts from surgery to psychology to photography, ending up working at a bookstore, while also struggling with finding any security or satisfaction in her romantic life. The reliable, slightly older cartoonist, Askel (Anders Danielsen Lie), is great in a lot of ways, but he wants a baby and pressures her to get pregnant even though she says she isn’t ready.
One night, on a whim, she crashes a wedding reception. There she meets Eivind (Herbert Nordrum), who while happily involved with his environmentalist girlfriend finds himself compelled by Julie’s evident free spirit.
And this is only scratching the surface of what The Worst Person In The World has in store. The film’s a portrait of an all too common character many of us will know, or might even be ourselves — someone who hasn’t got it all figured out.
Trier has a master’s confidence with tone, shifting between light romance to a Scandinavian’s grasp of existential crises to meta-humour and fairly sharp social commentary, without it ever feeling awkward or false.
Add to that cinematography capturing the loveliness of summery Norway, a wonderful score, and not a weak performance in the cast, all makes for a genuinely special film.
If Dakota Johnson-lookalike Renate Reinsve’s English is any good, expect to see her name above titles in Hollywood by 2023.