Movie Review: The Worst Person in the World

The Worst Person in the World (Verdens verste menneske) received two Oscar nominations for Best Screenplay and Best International Feature at the Academy Awards. This is the work of Danish-born Norwegian writer-director Joachim Trier. Best known for Thelma and Louder Than Bombs, Trier completes his Oslo trilogy after Oslo, August 31st and Reprise with dark comedy romance drama, The Worst Person in the World, starring Renate Reinsve, Anders Danielsen Lie and Herbert Nordrum.

Divided into chapters, the comedy romance drama explores four years in the life of a woman trying to figure out who she really is, confronted with trying romantic situations and career prospects. The Worst Person in the World features Julie, a young woman whose raw honesty is refreshing, presenting a complex character who is unapologetically herself. Playing open-handed for the audience, Julie’s instincts and decision-making around expectations of her as a friend, lover, partner and employee create a negative space that helps define the character over the seasons.

An artful film, not unlike The Square, it branches into some curious, eclectic and experimental filmmaking as animated, dream and freeze sequences play out. This bold undercurrent drives the provocative and thought-provoking drama as it veers from amusing family dynamics to wayward infidelity and the prospect of mortality and new life. The Worst Person in the World is fueled by an unassuming yet headstrong lead in Reinsve, who’s ably supported by Danielsen Lie and Nordrum as various romances play out.

the worst person in the world movie

“I’m not going to lie… this works much better outside.”

Diving headlong into some surprisingly dark scenarios, gender politics, a debate on free speech and constantly testing boundaries, this dark, soul-searching 30-something comedy romance drama does everything in its power to overturn tired genre clich├ęs. Flitting from bittersweet comedy to angst-filled existential drama, it’s an entertaining and unpredictable arthouse rollercoaster, juggling a range of emotions with understanding and insight.

The Worst Person in the World reveals a complex and flawed character with uncommon intelligence. While this incisive portrait has emotional resonance, the experience is somewhat alienating as it becomes more and more difficult to empathise with Julie’s often tactless behaviour and self-inflicted chaos. A timely exploration, the frayed connection doesn’t stand in the way of a bold, elegantly mounted and thought-provoking slice-of-life art film.

The bottom line: Sharp