A Wildcat against Domesticity

The Worst Person in the World

Director: Joachim Trier

Cast: Renate Reinsve, Anders Danielsen Lie, Herbert Nordrum, Hans Olav Brenner, Maria Grazia Di Meo

Film Rating: 7.5 out of 10

This film is in Norwegian with English Subtitles

Best Actress Winner at the Cannes Film Festival in 2021, Renate Reinsve is superb as the troubled millennial Julie in director Joachim Trier’s quirky and bizarre episodic film The Worst Person in the World, Norway’s official entry for the 2021 Best International Feature Film category at the Oscars.

Renate Reinsve is Norway’s version of British actress Keira Knightley both in looks and acting style. Reinsve plays an indecisive young woman Julie in contemporary Oslo who frequently changes career paths as often as she changes men.

However, the film focuses on a formative four years in Julie’s life as she begins a more serious relationship with a much older cartoon artist Arkel played by Anders Danielsen Lie. As Aksel introduces Julie to his friends in his age group, most of whom have children, the conversation turns to whether the couple would like to have children. At the prospect of Julie settling down with a much older man and having kids, this idea freaks her out and Julie promptly gate crashes a very hip party in central Oslo where she meets a man her own age, the handsome and muscular Ervind played by Herbert Nordrum.

Julie in between navigating the complicated relationship with her family and watching her own relationship with Aksel disintegrate, she begins an affair with Ervind and much Aksel’s shock, she unexpectedly breaks up with him. This leaves Aksel utterly bereft and lonely. This makes the selfish and indecisive Julie possibly the Worst Person in the World, a sort of Wildcat who is against any form of domesticity.

Julie and Ervind move into together and she thinks nothing more of her older ex-boyfriend besides seeing his controversial fame increase on Norwegian TV chat shows. After Julie accidentally bumps into one of Aksel’s friends Ole played by Hans Olav Brenner who tells her some distressing news about Aksels health, she reaches a cross roads in her life as she re-evaluates her relationship with Ervind while making some critical life choices.

The screenplay of The Worst Person in the World is excellent and the entire episodic film is held together tightly by a riveting performance by the ravishing Renate Reinsve. Director Joachim Trier’s Woody Allen like social comedy set in contemporary Norway is filled with angst, drama and many loose ends that leaves the viewer wishing for some form of cathartic release, something which Scandinavian film makers are not known for delivering.

The Worst Person in the World has a great title, a superb central performance and a cracking sound track but unfortunately as an episodic film some scenes could have been edited out especially the weird trippy sequence in the middle. The Worst Person in the World gets a film rating of 7.5 out of 10 and is entertaining, but not brilliant.

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