By: Amanda Guarragi
As we grow older, we realize that there is no right way to live life. Sure, some decisions can feel right, but ultimately not everything goes according to plan. When work is going well, relationships can fall through and vice versa. There is no manual, and the sooner we realize that time is irrelevant when trying to build our lives, we will all have a healthier outlook. For years women have been conditioned that 30-years-old is a deadline instead of a new chapter in our lives. What everyone needs to accept is that everyone is at a different stage in their late twenties and it’s hard to get every single aspect of your life together. In Joachim Trier’s The Worst Person in the World we see a young woman who battles with her indecisiveness, as she traverses the troubled waters of her love life and struggles to find her career path.
Trier structures the film into a prologue, 12 chapters, and an epilogue. The way he showed Julie’s (Renate Reinsve) transformation throughout this film was very thoughtful and lively. We get to know Julie as this young woman who never follows anything through. She is in her mid-twenties and wants to see the world, she wants to explore and live life before she can’t anymore. She wants a relationship but sees marriage and children as the end of this chapter of exploration. Again, that is what we’ve been conditioned to think. That we are selfish and cater to ourselves when we are young and single; then become devoted to our partner and child that we tend to lose our own identity. Even through this exploration of femininity, relationships, and the possibility of being trapped, Julie still finds solace in her work and that’s important.
Julie has been in many relationships but she leaves when things get too hard. She then meets someone older, a comic book artist named Aksel (Anders Danielsen Lie), who actually listens to her and they have deep conversations. The age gap between them worries Aksel because they are at two different stages in their lives. He wants children and she isn’t ready for children. They have minor arguments that definitely affect Julie’s perspective of the relationship. Due to the success of Aksel’s comic books, Julie took a back seat and felt like she was just living for him and not doing anything for her. So one night, she crashes a wedding and meets Elvind (Herbert Nordrum). They are both in a relationship; yet teeter on the idea of cheating with one another by doing intimate, non-sexual things. In those moments, you could feel Julie’s energy shift with Elvind. Which definitely contrasts the way she presented herself with Aksel.
The Worst Person in the World is a film that defines a new generation of women and how self-love can be more important than a relationship. Instead of choosing a partner, work can be much more fulfilling and peaceful. The final three chapters and the epilogue are filled with powerful, emotional moments that will really stay with you. Trier wanted to show that everything happens for a reason and it is better to just let go of things that do not serve you in any way. Renate Reinsve gives an incredible performance and carries this film on her back. The sequence where she pauses time and runs off to see Elvind is something that is truly movie magic and worked incredibly well for the escape Julie needed. This was such an incredibly thoughtful and emotional piece. All women, especially those in their twenties will definitely connect with this.