The Worst Person in the World debuted at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival this past June. It was met with rapturous applause and critical acclaim. It was one of a few films everybody was talking about coming out of the festival. After having watched it, I completely understand why. It’s a wonderful piece of cinematic achievement.
The film depicts the story of a free-spirited woman (Renate Reinsve) who’s about to turn 30, but she’s very indecisive about her love life and the career path she is trying to choose. She, like a lot of men and women, has issues with her father as well. Women as a whole have a lot on their plate at this age and it’s not easy deciding what to do with their lives.
The Worst Person in the World is a Norwegian film. It uses a twelve-act structure or chapters to tell its story including prologue and epilogue, like a book. As in the format of a book, there are ups and downs that the main characters go through. The lead character in the film had a lot of indecisiveness about her relationships, and her body. She doesn’t know if she should take the next step in either way. These topics are universal. All women have these choices to make. This film delves into them in a very competent way.
Joachim Trier directed the film and wrote the screenplay with Eskil Vogt. They put some interesting elements into the story to not make it completely stale or too long. In one of the chapters, there is a time-lapse sequence where everything stops and the main character gets to go and do what she wants. This lets the viewers in on what she’s thinking. Another sequence when she and her companions are on mushrooms is a little weird. This breaks up the monotony of the story.
The film deals with a lot of sensitive topics, but they are handled very well by everyone involved including the director, writers, and acting. The supporting cast opposite the main character is fine, but this film is a starring vehicle for Reinsve. She goes through many different emotions on her journey of self-discovery. She has to deal with a lot. I can’t profess to know what women are feeling, but this actress in this role showed quite a bit. She gives one of the best performances of the year by a lead actress in a film. It makes sense why she won the best actress award at Cannes.
The Worst Person in the World has a very unconventional style to it, but it works in this context. This unique book-like structure helped move the film forward in a brisk manner. The film didn’t feel stale or slow. The acting by the cast was fine, but Reinsve gave one of the best performances of the year. She knew how to turn the dialogue of the script into real emotion and genuine authenticity. I believed everything she was going through and everything she put herself through as well. It felt real while I was watching the film. This film is one of the best foreign-language films of the year and will surely be in the mix for Best International Feature at next year’s Academy Awards.
Dan Skip Allen
Founder/EIC disappointment media