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  • Writer's pictureMax Markowitz

The Worst Person In The World

See it or Skip it: See it.

May Very Well Be The Best Film From 2021

The Worst Person In The World may very well be the best film from 2021. I am not sure as I still have a few more films to see and some more reflecting on all of them. I DO know that The Worst Person In The World is a lovely, tender, humorous, hopeful, emotional, tear-jerking love letter to society’s young people confused and conflicted about their futures.

The Worst Person In The World follows Julie (Renate Reinsve) a young woman in Oslo battling indecisiveness as she staggers amongst the complicated waters of her love life and struggles to find a career path. Julie is not at all the worst person in the world and she doesn’t really feel that she is but there’s just something about that particular categorization of someone that’s so extreme and yet so random. There’s something lurking around it we all relate to on some level.

I found it very refreshing to see a film about a young person who doesn’t see her indecisiveness as problematic. She may feel that her clock is ticking but really, she’s just extremely restless and impatient for her life to actually begin. Reinsve captures this impatience as though she’s throwing a ball back and forth with friends. The ball is soft and can be dropped but after a while, you start to see that it’s really been made of glass all along and all the cracks are there.

As far as Julie’s romantic life is concerned, there are two men she’s involved with at different points in the film. She loves them but doesn’t completely know what love is. Love can’t be defined by a definition and while her relationships are real relationships, companionship just seemed like a more accurate fit to me. Companionship offers such warmth and snug shelter from the brutal winters of loneliness and it can include all the physical and psychological rushes of excitement we can feel when we first start dating someone new.

Anders Danielsen Lie’s Askel is an acclaimed comic artist 15 years older than Julie. He’s very passionate about his work and encourages Julie as she pursues photography and writes an acclaimed article of her own. Eivind (Herbert Nordrum) is a friendly barista and more impulsive than Eivind. He represents a wild side of Julie while Askel serves her sensitive and intellectual areas.

“I love you and I also don’t love you,” Julie tells Askel midway through the film. Many of us have been in relationships that we’re not sure about. We’re often sure about the person but not ourselves. It’s easier to put yourself first when you're younger because that’s what you're used to and sometimes being alone is how you really discover yourself because you're stuck with yourself. Julie is ready to learn more about herself at this stage. The scene where she is ready to briefly close a certain chapter of her young adulthood is a bit sad but it’s more adorable than anything else. There are various stages to it that make you forget there’s an entire world outside of these two people.

Right before the breakup, Julie sees Askel pouring her coffee. She turns on a light switch and imagines time literally standing still. Julie runs through Oslo literally seeing the world as her oyster and it’s a scene of complete and utter euphoria. She really is such a mess but she finds the beauty in her messes and chaos. It is portrayed as something very fluid and human and beautiful. It never feels that way when it happens to us individually because we’re so overwhelmed by it. If time stood still, the whole wide world may not look so scary and that’s what you really get from this scene.

The overall tone of The Worst Person In The World is really very gentle and soothing but it’s never afraid to let loose and just be. The Worst Person In The World never tries to be anything, it just exists the way life does and that’s how it captures the laughs and the tears so well. As I watched, I thought about how much the film was capturing but upon leaving the theater, I realized The Worst Person In The World captured me.

Breathing and being alive aren’t the same thing. Breathing keeps us here but being alive is to go through all the past experiences. The new, the safe, the dangerous, the scary, the sexy, the hilarious, the unbearable, and the exciting. Completely relatable from all ends and angles, The Worst Person In The World was born to become an immediate classic and an exotic source of comfort that I can’t wait to visit again. We are all our own best friends. Once we realize that and see the love in our imperfections, it won’t take long to see why a stranger we see in the distance starts walking closer.

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