The Worst Person in the World (Norwegian: Verdens verste menneske) is a 2021 romantic black comedy-drama film directed by Joachim Trier. It is the third film in the director's "Oslo Trilogy", following Reprise (2006) and Oslo, August 31st (2011). The film premiered in competition at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival to widespread critical acclaim, with Renate Reinsve winning the award for Best Actress for her performance in the film. At the 94th Academy Awards, the film was nominated for Best International Feature Film and Best Original Screenplay. The score for the film was written by Ola Fløttum.
|The Worst Person in the World|
|Norwegian||Verdens verste menneske|
|Directed by||Joachim Trier|
|Edited by||Olivier Bugge Coutté|
|Music by||Ola Fløttum|
|Box office||$11.8 million|
This section may contain an excessive amount of intricate detail that may interest only a particular audience.(April 2022)
Julie is a medical student in Oslo who, after having an epiphany, decides to pursue psychology and break up with her boyfriend. She then begins dating one of her professors. After going through her camera roll on her phone, she then decides to become a photographer. While out with her next boyfriend, a model, she meets Aksel Willman, an acclaimed comic artist fifteen years her senior. Despite their age gap, the two hit it off and begin a relationship.
Chapter 1: The Others
Julie, now dabbling in writing, spends a weekend with Aksel at his parents' house. Aksel floats the idea of starting a family to Julie, but Julie says she is not ready and is unsure when she will be, especially after watching Aksel's niece having a tantrum. Later, a drunken party ends in disaster when the wife of Aksel's brother hits her head with a lamp, leading to a heated discussion that Aksel and Julie overhear. However, the next morning, Julie watches the couple reconcile, as well as Aksel coloring with his nephews.
Chapter 2: Cheating
While walking home from a publishing event for Aksel, Julie crashes a wedding reception and meets Eivind, a barista. Though both are in relationships, they spend the entire night together, sharing intimacies but arguably never cheating on their significant others. They exchange only their first names and plan no further encounter.
Chapter 3: Oral Sex in the Age of #MeToo
Julie writes a blog post about feminism and oral sex. Aksel is impressed with it and encourages her to post it online, where it receives attention.
Chapter 4: Our Own Family
Julie celebrates her 30th birthday at her divorced mother's home along with Aksel and Julie's grandmother. Julie's estranged father fails to attend, claiming he injured his back. Days later, Julie and Aksel visit her father. Julie asks him if he has read her article, and he claims he was unable to open the link. Julie's teenage half-sister inadvertently reveals that Julie's father was watching her play at a football tournament on the day of her birthday. He makes excuses to decline Aksel's invitation to visit him and Julie in Oslo. On the way home, Aksel tells Julie she needs to make her own family.
Chapter 5: Bad Timing
While working at a bookstore, Julie encounters Eivind and his girlfriend Sunniva. Julie and Eivind talk while Sunniva waits outside. While having dinner with Aksel's brother and sister-in-law, Aksel complains about the cinematic adaptation of his comic series Bobcat, in which his politically incorrect series is turned into a family-friendly Christmas film, leading to a complete monologue that makes Julie feel bored and ignored. Julie, feeling disillusioned, dreams that she goes on a date with Eivind, where they fall in love. Because of this, she breaks up with Aksel, but they have sex one last time before she leaves his apartment, though she implies that they could reconcile at some point.
Chapter 6: Finnmark Highlands
The history of Eivind and Sunniva's relationship is shown. After a close encounter with a reindeer while on a camping trip, Sunniva is compelled to research her ancestry, which determines that she is 3.1% Sámi. This leads her to becoming an avid climate change and indigenous peoples' rights activist. Eivind begins to grow exhausted with their restrictive lifestyle, at which point he encounters Julie in the bookstore.
Chapter 7: A New Chapter
Julie and Eivind move in together. Though he has since broken up with Sunniva, he still follows her on Instagram, which does not trouble Julie.
Chapter 8: Julie's Narcissistic Circus
Eivind hosts a small party where one of his friends uncovers Eivind's stash of psychedelic mushrooms. After consuming them, Julie envisions herself completely naked, older and with a kid at her breast, she feels vulnerable at the gaze of all her former lovers and even Bobcat who eats her child in a hot dog, then she sees her father sitting on a couch and she sits in front of him angrily throwing her bloodied tampon. When she gets up she realizes she made a mess in Eivind's apartment. The following night, she confides in Eivind that she can be herself around him, but he seems to ignore her claims.
Chapter 9: Bobcat Wrecks Xmas
While exercising at the gym, Julie watches an NRK TV interview in which Aksel defends his Bobcat comics against a feminist critique. When the host accuses his comics of being sexist, Aksel goes into a fiery defense of his work.
Chapter 10: First Person Singular
Aksel's brother happens upon Julie at work and discloses that Aksel has inoperable pancreatic cancer. Sometime later, Eivind comes across a short story Julie had written. When he assumes it is based on her real-life experiences, Julie angrily denies this and accuses him of being satisfied with never achieving anything in his life.
Chapter 11: Positive
Julie learns she is pregnant and delays telling Eivind. She visits Aksel in the hospital and they review their lives apart. Aksel confides that he is devastated by the prospect that he no longer has a future, and Julie admits that she is pregnant. Despite his assertions that she would be a good mother, she is unsure of whether she wants to keep the baby. Returning home, Julie finally tells Eivind about her pregnancy, and they decide to separate while she determines whether she wants to keep the child.
Chapter 12: Everything Comes to an End
Aksel takes Julie to the building where he grew up and was inspired to become an artist. He tells her that he wishes he could continue living with her and not simply live on as a memory. She later receives a voicemail from Aksel's brother reporting that his condition has worsened and that he will likely not make it through the night. She sadly walks the streets of Oslo and watches the sunrise the following morning. While showering, Julie miscarries.
Some time later, Julie is working as an on-set photographer for a film shoot. She photographs an actress and then, gazing through a window, sees the actress outside with Eivind and a baby. She returns home to edit the day’s photos.
- Renate Reinsve as Julie
- Anders Danielsen Lie as Aksel
- Herbert Nordrum as Eivind
- Hans Olav Brenner as Ole Magnus
- Helene Bjørneby as Karianne
- Vidar Sandem as Per Harald
- Maria Grazia Di Meo as Sunniva
- Lasse Gretland as Kristoffer
- Karen Røise Kielland as Tone
- Marianne Krogh as Eva
- Thea Stabell as Åse
- Deniz Kaya as Anna
- Eia Skjønsberg as Synne
MK2 Films secured a sales deal on the film in February 2021. The film had its world premiere in competition for the Palme d'Or at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival on 7 July. A week later, the film's US distribution rights were sold to Neon, while the India, UK and Ireland rights were acquired by Mubi.
The Worst Person in the World had its North American premiere on 11 September as a Gala Presentation at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival. The film was released theatrically in France on 13 October 2021 by Memento Distribution, in Norway on 15 October 2021 by SF Studios and in Sweden on 19 November 2021 by TriArt Film.
On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 96% of 221 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 8.7/10. The website's consensus reads, "The Worst Person in the World concludes Joachim Trier's Oslo Trilogy with a romantic comedy that delightfully subverts the genre's well-worn tropes." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 90 out of 100, based on 41 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw described the film as "one of Cannes' best" and "an instant classic". Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair called it "exquisite, wistful (and downright sad)", praising the cast performances and Trier's writing. In his review for IndieWire, David Ehrlich gave the film a grade of B and commended Reinsve's performance, stating "If Julie is less of a character than a vividly realized archetype, Reinsve didn’t get the message." Vanity Fair and The Atlantic declared The Worst Person in the World to be the best film of 2021.
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