Twelve episodes, a prologue and an epilogue: the vision that Joachim Treviri has of Julie’s life is compartmentalized, and during these fourteen flashes of his day we can understand who he is, what his dreams and regrets are, and enter the head of someone who more than once thought he was “the worst person in the world“.
The film is set up in such a way each of these episodes is a different genreand in its mixture is the real goal of the film: to be as similar as possible to the comings and goings, the achievements, the joys and sorrows of life.
Oral sex in the #MeToo era
Cinema deceives us. It is one of the maxims of the seventh art: it makes us believe that a life has the same tone, the same palette of colors, is growing and has a final catharsis. Cinema, at least the narrative one, makes us understand life as a natural succession of events, but we all know that this is not the case. That in every person and in every routine there are experiences filled with comedy, drama, monotony, debate and just a few that disrupt our entire ecosystem.
“The worst person in the world” lives many of his rhythms between the margins of conventional cinema, forcing anecdotes, what is never told, to be at the center of the scene. We got some crazy comedy at a party, some surrealism with synthetic drugsa few minutes dedicated to the debate on oral sex and feminism, a fantasy that will remind us ‘Big fish’ and he even allows himself a space to talk about his vision of 21st century activism taken to the extreme.
Obviously the Trier film it never reaches the art and the essay: Within these pills, Julie’s story, desperate sex, casual encounters, breakups and reunions is also told. Unfortunately, the film doesn’t get to the bottom of how fabulous it is during the first two acts and towards the end it becomes more stereotypedintroducing a twist that, while giving it more humanity, tries to force a reaction on the viewer who feels too manipulative.
The melancholy inherent in happiness
‘The worst person in the world’ doesn’t allow himself to be happy, even in his lightest moments. Forever there is a burden that prevents happiness Julie’s total: a relationship she feels responsible for, a moral responsibility, a failure in her parent-child relationship … For every happy moment the character has, the film punishes him with another of bitterness. Julie, like almost everyone in life, cannot afford to be completely happy, and it is this bittersweet feeling, this vital bitterness, that manages to create the most affinity with the viewer.
Even in its least realized moments, the film he is right in overturning the clichés of romantic comedy: Trier will not let the protagonist find love, as in the usual cinema of the genre, and everything is a bed of roses. The melancholy, the petrified smile and the more or less justified sense of guilt make even the most classically happy shots of a couple’s life here. they are subject to other miseries which are happening at the same time.
And it is that not only did we fall in love, and that’s it; or we just move: everything that happens it is part of a succession of pills and emotional moments that define us. Julie has dozens of levels covering the character’s most basic core: family, love, heartbreak, unfulfilled dreams, hopes, doubts, the future. Julie is imperfect, a character as charming as she is confused, like any normal person in her twenties and with no direction to go.
‘The worst person in the world’: the carpenter and the director
Renate Reinsve, the protagonist, one day made the most important decision of her life: she was about to leave her acting career to devote herself to carpentry. The next day, Joachim Trier met her to talk about what she had done, life, love and everything around him. From that conversation, and with the intention of bringing Reinsve back to the cameras, Trier wrote a script with his regular collaborator, Eskil Vogt. And what a script
Luckily Trier came up with “The Worst Person In The World” for Reinsve, because he signs one of the best performances of the year, a mixture of longing and naive millennial positivity that elevates Julie even higher. For his part, Trier is capable of accomplishing the impossible: putting together fourteen different puzzle pieces and make them adhere smoothly and perfectly. A film like this could have been pedantic or deconstructed in other hands, but the director knows how to give it the love and shape he deserves.
Is Julie the worst person in the world? Without a doubt, this is the view she sometimes has of herself, but the public is more lenient with her. We can see behind that curtain there is only one person who is vulnerable, fallible and, what the hell, is still trying to find himself.
And as the episodes go by, she will drift further and further away from that more selfish Julie a become an adult capable of accepting (and embracing) change learning from the details and experiences we have seen. That yes, up to the top floor, Trier will not allow us to leave without giving us a sting and making us feel that mixture of sweetness, personal fulfillment and pain which, because denying it, is existence.
‘The worst person in the world’ is one of the must-see films of the year. If yours double appointment to the Oscar awards (only six Norwegian films have been nominated for best foreign film, literally one every decade since the 1980s) did not put you on the trail, the superb direction of Joachim Trier and the (award-winning) performance of Renate Reinsve Cannes Film Festival) It should. Because, in the end, we’ve all been the worst people in the world at one time or another.