December 9, 2021

VIFF 2021 | Growing Up – 'The Worst Person in the World'

"I don't want to be a memory for you."
Renate Reinsve Anders Danielsen Lie Joachim Trier | The Worst Person in the World (Verdens verste menneske) | VIFF 2021
Vancouver International Film Festival
VIFF 2021—Danish-born Norwegian filmmaker Joachim Trier answers the questions behind any whirlwind romance like what actually happens next after the happy couple gets together at the end of a rom-com. The provocatively titled The Worst Person in the World (aka Verdens verste menneske) takes a darkly comic yet wonderfully cinematic approach to its Oslo-set modern romantic drama exploring millennial unrest through the messiness of contemporary relationships.

Starring the radiant Renate Reinsve as Julie, a bright thirty-year-old medical student turned photographer finding herself, who gets involved romantically with Aksel, a graphic novelist fifteen years her senior played by Anders Danielsen Lie, the full history of their meeting, coupling, breakup, and possible reconciliation occupy the entirety of the captivating two-hour film's running time.

Not unlike the late-stage coming-of-age Frances Ha or multi-year romantic structure of the episodic Love Life, how Trier and co-writer Eskil Vogt, through Reinsve's performance, capture the impulses and decisions of a young person make for a truly compelling and superbly told story. Julie's flakiness, indecision, and bad timing haunt her day-to-day mindset as someone whose fatal flaw is constantly waiting until being fully "ready" for adulthood to move on from something and take that next step or chapter in life while she's simultaneously incapable of seeing anything through.

Trier's piercing romantic character study turns the unfortunate timing and questionable decision-making of growing up into a truly enticing experience. The Worst Person in the World manages somehow to be both surreal fantasy and hyper reality at the very same time in its stark yet frank depiction of arrested development. Furthermore, its earnest depiction of questioning whether or not to have kids makes for an entirely amusing yet thoughtful journey of self-discovery.

The Worst Person in the World screened at the 2021 Vancouver International Film Festival as part of the Contemporary World Cinema series.

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