For any millennial who ever pratfell in the face of their own indecision-making, Joachim Trier’s “The Worst Person in the World” holds up a grimacing double-sided mirror that flips between a hard-to-stomach, piercing reality check, and a warm, inviting embrace of relatability for the very same reason. Renate Reinsve gives a full-stop stunning breakout performance (one that won her the Best Actress prize at Cannes) as Julie, a tormented approaching-30-something who waffles between busted professional aspirations and ineffectual lovers, with ultimately no one to come home to at the end of the day but herself. One of the best movies of 2021 is finally getting released in 2022 from distributor Neon, which opens the movie in theaters February 4. Below, watch the full trailer for the movie.
This modern romantic drama is, on it face, about the quest for love and meaning in contemporary Oslo. It chronicles four years in the life of Julie as she navigates the choppy waters of her romantic life and struggles to find her career path — tracing the gaping arc from med school to photography — and that leads her to take a realistic look at who she really is.
Trier’s formally daring latest is an ode to the romantic dramas of yesteryear, when big-hearted movies could encapsulate the crescendos of a love affair without a necessarily political agenda. But “Worst Person” ultimately does have smart things to say about how economic circumstances and being set up on the idea of “following your dreams” (a pipe dream whose consequences we are all now imbibing) dictate the millennial plights of today. Trier ecstatically darts between rom-com, grief drama, and, at one point, tripped-out psychedelic horror movie, meaning his camera is possessed by the same easily distracted and restless spirit as Julie herself.
While Reinsve is the obvious north star of this wonderful, touching, and wholly unpretentious feature, Anders Danielsen Lie gives a heart-crushing performance as one of Julie’s big loves, and whose inner core can’t fully be explicated without experiencing the movie for yourself. This is a movie fans will return to again and again for comfort for the rest of their days — as itchy and discomfiting as its enveloping offerings can sometimes be.