Not a movie about your ex-husband

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By Sadira Sittampalam

The Worst Person in the World is a 2022 film that chronicles four years in the life of Julie as she struggles to figure out who she is and what she wants. This movie has been described as a coming-of-age tale for grown-ups and it proves to be quite the tale. This movie simply subverts most expectations of what this movie could be about, and instead, you are treated as you see someone carelessly navigate their life while being so uncertain about what the future could look like. This film is simply an exploration of being alive in this world, putting all of the confusion, anxiety and hope that we all feel into a gorgeously shot and brilliantly developed film. 

This film is one that feels entirely alive. It documents the journey of its characters in a manner that retains all authenticity of exactly how flawed we all are and stays true to the incomparable human experience. This ensures that this movie feels incredibly personal as if it were speaking directly to your own experiences, bringing up emotions and thoughts about life effortlessly as we glide through the story. The cinematography supplemented this by ensuring that you feel just as involved in the setting as the characters do. The soundtrack also helped to provide a subtle background scoring of emotion, just loud enough to be heard but never to interrupt or distract. 

The movie begins by explaining that it will be told in 12 chapters including a prologue and epilogue, setting up the structure of the film for us to easily follow along. This not only made the film’s pacing that much better but actually made these entire chapters race by with beautiful rhythm and cadence that each had its own unique pulses. Every chapter felt earned, providing a different insight into these flawed characters while being charming and funny. The tone of the film was also built up perfectly with a marvellous balance of comedy and drama. They both worked together to build up this story instead of inhibiting or dampening the experience of each other. 

With a two hour run time, this movie provides you with a feast of emotions, roller-coasting through some of the highest highs and lowest lows of life. It featured some of the most gorgeous sequences that could potentially even be its own self-contained story through how it deals with certain themes. How the entire journey comes together by the end also proved to be quite cathartic, providing a dutiful resolution for these characters and their story, while still leaving so much up to interpretation. 

The success of the movie also had a lot to do with the performances, particularly from Renate Reinsve as Julie, who, with a single look was able to convey a host of contradictory emotions. She was incredible in the role, completely encapsulating this balance between uncertainty and anxiety and hope for the future. The character of Julie herself never felt like a character, you are always entirely convinced of her journey and the decisions she makes, all thanks to Reinsve’s performance. Even Anders Danielsen Lie who played Aksel was able to give us an incredibly poignant character progression that succeeded in being astonishingly sympathetic. 

While I was familiar with director Joaquim Trier through his rather decent supernatural thriller film Thelma, this movie was a huge step up from there, giving you everything you want to experience from a movie. Once the credits started rolling, it took me a couple of minutes of staring at the list of names to return to reality – and if that isn’t what you want to experience from a movie, I don’t know what is. This is an entirely original film that is sure to provide a different interpretation to every person who watches it, sharing with you an experience that proves to be both incredibly personal and universal.