A couple of months ago, my wife and went to the Spectrum Theatre. there was a poster for the then-upcoming The Worst Person in the World. “Have you heard of it?” my wife asked. “Nope.”
Then on a date night in March, we went to see the film there. Julie (Renate Reinsve) is, like a lot of young adults, trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life in terms of work and love. Early on, she is in a substantial relationship with Aksel (Anders Danielsen Lie), a comic book artist, and a cultural icon in Oslo. She learns a lot from being with him. But is that all SHE is?
And how much flirting is allowed, she and Eivind (Herbert Nordrum) ask each other?
I imagine that The Worst Person in the World (Verdens verste menneske) could be remade into a not-too-appealing American rom-com. But this take is engaging. Even the tropes and there are a few, seem fresh. The decision to break the story into a dozen chapters allows transitions not bound by traditional storytelling. And, for the most part, they work.
NOT the worst
I think the worst thing about the movie is the title. Julie is hardly a terrible person, but one who I could definitely relate to. In the Hollywood Reporter, David Rooney wrote: “It’s rare to encounter a romantic comedy as fresh, insightful and alive with bittersweet tenderness as this reflection on the fumbling mistakes we make as we figure out who we are. That’s due in part to the luminous Renate Reinsve as Julie, but especially to the wisdom and compassion of director Joachim Trier and regular co-writer Eskil Vogt’s screenplay.
This film concludes Joachim Trier’s Oslo Trilogy, but not seeing the previous films won’t diminish your viewing. I hope it wins the Best Original Screenplay Oscar. It’s also up for Best International Film. Check out the trailer. On Rotten Tomatoes, 96% of the critics and 86% of the audience agree it’s a fine movie. I should note, I suppose: yes, there are subtitles.