The Worst Person in the World comes from Norway. Released in 2021, it won an impressive number of awards, including the Best Actress award at Cannes for Renate Reinsve. Apparently it’s a thing in Norway to say, “I’m the worst person in the world,” when you goof up somehow. The movie isn’t about a bad person. It’s just normal people doing normal screwed up things.
Julie (Renate Reinsve) was smart and talented. She got into medical school but dropped out. She tried various other things including photography and writing. Now she was 30 and still didn’t have it figured out. She was working in a bookstore.
The film uses a prologue, 12 chapters highlighting specific incidents in Julie’s life, and an epilogue to take us through 4 years. In many ways it was a coming of age story. Julie needed to understand what kind of relationship she wanted, whether she wanted children, and how she wanted to live her life. By the time the epilogue rolls around, she’d made her decisions.
The film was slow. It was over 2 hours long. Parts of it felt tedious while other parts brimmed with movement.
In the prologue we see Julie with several men, but by Chapter 1 she’s forming a relationship with Aksel (Anders Danielsen Lie). He was in his 40s and ready to have children. She was not interested in having children.
Julie is with Aksel for a while. She meets Eivind (Herbert Nordrum) and ends it abruptly with Aksel to pursue Eivind. That wasn’t perfect either.
During these relationships we see Julie with family, crashing parties, taking magic mushrooms, and trying out various creative endeavors.
Renate Reinsve as Julie was excellent in this. She reminded me of my daughter who also didn’t get a clear understanding of who she was and what she wanted until she was in her 30s. The film was written by two men, Eskil Vogt and director Joachim Trier. They had a good grasp of the feminine mind.
The reviews from 2021 when the film came out were either raves or pans. There didn’t seem to be much middle of the road opinion about this one. I came along 2 years after the initial glow and watched it on Hulu. I had definite middle of the road feelings about it. I loved the female empowerment and personal agency Julie finally achieved, but I found it slow going and not always interesting getting her there.
If you watched it then (or now on a streamer) I’d love to know what you thought about it. Leave a comment.