Saturday, July 31

World’s Worst Person Review: Nordic Romantic Comedy Is An Instant Classic | Cannes 2021


Joachim Trier is the Norwegian director who gifted us with the disturbing telekinesis thriller Thelma (2017) and the challenging drug addiction drama Oslo, August 31 (2011). Working with his longtime screenwriter, Eskil Vogt, he has baffled his audiences, shaken them, and shocked them into realizing that they are not here for an easy ride.

So if you had told me at the start of this festival that your new competing film would be a sweet relationship comedy with wonderful freshness, as well as touches from Nora Ephron and the David Nicholls, and that it would make me covertly choke. , peeking left and right to make sure no one saw me whining… well, I wouldn’t have believed you.

But that is what has happened. Trier has taken one of the most difficult genres imaginable, romantic drama, and combined it with another very complicated style, coming of age, to create something gloriously sweet and seductive. It’s a kind of non-Rake progress, or innocent progress, in 13 chapters, started by the twenty-something heroine, Julia.

The worst person in the world.
Photography: Oslo Pictures

Renate Reinsve is the actress who takes on this role and she takes off like a rocket, deserving star status to rival Lily James or Alicia Vikander for her tremendously mature, sensitive and understanding portrayal.

And where does the title come from? Surely it cannot apply to Julie herself; She admits that she leaves two men over the course of the movie, cheating and lying to the second, but not for a moment do we think of her as anything other than vulnerable, flawed, and human. Like any other person in their twenties, he is terrified by the terrible irreversibility of life choices.

Perhaps the title applies to her formidable second boyfriend, the brilliant but haughty comic book artist named Aksel (played by Trier regular Anders Danielsen Lie) who is famous for a series of aggressively sexual graphic novels in the R Crumb style, who will be published soon. he got into trouble with a new generation of feminists.

Julie starts off hilariously unsure of what she wants to do with her life. She is initially a medical student, but then, wide-eyed, she tells her long-suffering mother that she wants to change course to psychology, haughtily declaring that she finds the mind more interesting than the body, and then decides that she wants to get into it. Photography. She begins a relationship with a beautiful young boy who she, with a magnificent lack of professionalism, begins to kiss in the middle of a photoshoot and then leaves him at a party for the fascinating Aksel.

The worst person in the world.
Photography: Oslo Pictures

But as she moves into her 20s, she discovers that Aksel is becoming more and more famous while she still works at a bookstore, her photography now abandoned for vague ideas about Carrie Bradshaw-type journalism or confessional fiction. Things come to a head when he leaves Aksel’s latest launch party early and has an intense run-in with a guy named E vivos (Herbert Nordrum) who also works in a store. Has she found, apparently disconsolate, her level in life?

There are two sensational scenes: one when she finally plucks up the courage to tell Aksel to leave him, and the whole world freezes as she runs through the streets of Oslo to find and kiss Evid. The second comes when he takes mushrooms with Evid and his friends, an absolute spectacle of a sequence of drug dreams and hallucinations in which Julie finally faces her estranged and lifeless father.

This movie is sweet, gentle and funny, in undoubtedly conventional but also very real ways. It’s the kind of movie we’ve all seen so poorly made that it’s an unexpected pleasure to see it well-made and realize that its themes are very important: who do you fall in love with? Who is the one? When do you realize that you are conforming? Reinsve’s performance is so good. A star has been born.


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