“Everything we feel, we have to put into words. Sometimes, I just want to feel things.”Julie
The Worst Person in the World is overtly a character study of Julie — a forceful but flighty woman — through a series of vignettes over four years in her twenties, but Joachim Trier uses this structure to explore a broad range of subjects from age differences and the decision to have children to illness and mortality. Renate Reinsve excels, imbuing a role that could easily have felt like a tired manic pixie dream girl trope with conflicting desires and introspective depth. Certain chapters are more memorable than others, such as Julie and Eivind exploring the boundaries of intimicy without infidelity at a party, but all feel well-observed, particularly in depicting the quieter moments of relationships. Trier is playful with the cinematic form, switching deftly from romance to comedy to drama, sometimes heightening reality and occasionally abandoning it altogether, like a fantasy sequence in which time stops whilst Julie explores the world to make a decision about her relationship. The titular theme is perception of self and how subjective reality can be used to justify or excuse behaviour — Aksel explains that he wants Julie to see herself as he does, seemingly as he believes it will allow her to become a better person. Its Norwegian sensibilities should not be a barrier as The Worst Person in the World is both entertaining and thought-provoking.