Verdens verste menneske [The Worst Person in the World] (2021)

Verdens verste menneske
Director: Joachim Trier
Writer: Joachim Trier, Eskil Vogt
Cast: Renate Reinsve, Anders Danielsen Lie, Herbert Nordrum, Hans Olav Brenner, Helene Bjørneby, Vidar Sandem, Ine Jansen
Seen on: 7.6.2022

Julie (Renate Reinsve) is impulsive – she changed her career trajectory several times, and she also didn’t really settly down with a guy. Until she met Aksel (Anders Danielsen Lie), a comic artist a good decade older than her. As Julie tries to stick with him and with becoming a photographer, it seems questionable, though, whether she’s really able to do so.

Verdens verste menneske stretches out a little long, but it always comes back to inventive and sensitive filmmaking that makes the drawn-out parts worth it.

The film poster showing Julie (Renate Reinsve) running along the street with a big grin.

The film’s biggest achievement for me was that they actually manage to give me a voice-over, and a slightly ironic one at that, that I absolutely adored. I usually hate voice-overs, but Ine Jansen’s pitch-perfect delivery and the way it is both set up to give us insights into Julie, while also making a little fun of her (but never in a mean way) really made the film for me.

It’s not the only thing where the film is really excellent – when Julie meets Eivind (Herbert Nordrum), their dance around the line between harmless flirtation and cheating is absolutely fantastic, as well as the scene where the movie takes a break into fantasy and has Julie run through a city where time has stopped. And that’s just a few moments that stood out to me.

Julie (Renate Reinsve) and Eivind (Herbert Nordrum) smoking a cigarette together. He is blowing smoke into her mouth.

But at the same time, I was deeply uncomfortable with Aksel’s “politically incorrect” cartoon and the to me rather tired discussion whether “political correctness has gone too far”. It has not, and the question alone has become a right-wing tool. Simply considering it plays right into their hands (just like talk of “cancel culture”). I also didn’t trust Julie as a commentator on “Oral Sex in the Age of #MeToo” – a text that Trier and Vogt have her write and be praised for. There are interesting thoughts there, but it needs a deeply feminist analysis if you ask me – and Julie may be many things, but she is no well-informed feminist.

Generally, apart from her indecisiveness, Julie doesn’t quite come alive as a character, despite Reinsve’s best efforts. That may be the underlying issue of why the film feels so lengthy when it’s not looking at the flashy moments.

In any case, the film is interesting enough to be worth watching for sure. But I don’t quite get the heaps of praise it has gotten. It’s good, but not that good.

Julie (Renate Reinsve) and Aksel (Anders Danielsen Lie) cuddling together.

Summarizing: good and worth your time.

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