Film of the Month: The Worst Person in the World
Director: Joachim Trier
Stars: Renate Reinsve, Anders Danielsen Lie, Herbert Nordrum
Norwegian writer-director Joachim Trier’s third instalment of his loose ‘Oslo trilogy’ is a masterful character study that is likely to strike a rich chord with millennials – and everyone else. We first encounter Julie (Reinsve), a twenty-nine-year-old single woman, at a party where most of the guests are middle-aged. A woman shares with Julie her supposed insights on the young. With her thirties breathing down her neck, Julie is still weighing her career options. She has trained in medicine, but is thinking of switching to psychology. Then she meets Aksel (the endearingly hangdog Danielsen Lie), an intense graphic designer who sees Julie’s indecision as appealingly scatty, as opposed to his well-ordered life. Personal differences mean that Julie drifts towards Eivind (Nordrum) another aimless millennial. Divided into twelve chapters, along with a prologue and epilogue, this is a richly nuanced drama that is in turns archly amusing and melancholic. Reinsve is luminous as the protagonist who is sure there is a life to be led before she settles down, but not exactly sure what that constitutes, while the richly-layered script, penned by Trier and regular collaborator Eskil Vogt, ensures that all Julie’s decisions are accounted for, whether we concur with her choices or not. Trier's direction is playfully eclectic but never distracting. In the film’s most audacious sequence, time stands still while Julie traverses Oslo en route to meet with a new lover.
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