Discovering Who You Are and You’re NOT the Worst Person

Renate Reinsve in a surreal moment in “Worst Person in the World”

When the Academy Awards were pushed back, some of the nominated films have had the time to find their audiences. “Coda”, a Best Feature Nominee, won the top prize at Sundance over a year ago. From a limited theatrical run, it’s now been seen by a larger audience on AppleTV. It’s winning all kinds of awards for it’s director and cast. Another Independent film, this one from Norway, won a Best Actress prize at Cannes last July. Now “Worst Person in the World” is nominated as a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar contender and also for Original Screenplay for Writer/Director Joachim Trier and Eskil Vogt. The film was selected as Best Foreign Film at the NYFCC awards and is screening in movie theaters and now available to stream on Vudu and other platforms ($6.99). This dark comedy is finding appreciative audiences.

A romance that’s about a woman discovering how to love…herself. Renate Reinsve gives an amazing performance as a young woman trying on new career paths and relationships on her journey to understand what gives her life meaning. It’s a coming-of-age film that posits that what you DO is not as important as knowing who you ARE. There’s a great line in the film during a break-up scene. Julie explains to her older lover, Aksel (Anders Danielsen Lie), that she’s been feeling like a spectator in her own life. That’s something a lot of us can relate to.

If there’s a theater near you playing this film, definitely make the trip. However, Joachim Trier has the film broken into episodes so it’s a great one to stream at home. In a year that was full of movies that exceeded the two-hour mark, “Worst Person in the World” follows the trend at 2 hours, 8 minutes. It could’ve been improved with some judicial pruning. The city of Oslo becomes a character in the movie but there are many shots of the harbor and street scenes with the characters walking. A lot of walking. Plus, our first romantic lead, Aksel, likes to pontificate. It’s fitting for his character to want to showcase his knowledge and hide his insecurities behind an artistic shield but it can be tiresome.

Break-up sex between Askel and Julie, “Worst Person in the World”

There are some clever scenes. There’s a meet-cute at a wedding party that becomes a flirtathon. Break-up sex that leaves Askel bereft; framed standing naked and sad in his living room. A psychedelic mushroom trip that captures that feeling of time/space elasticity, where reality is melting away. The one set piece that has characters freezing in time so the love birds can roam the city falling more in love is clever, though perhaps too long.

It’s unusual to have a film about one woman’s journey. The fact that Julie is not defined by her job or her relationship status or her desire for outside approval is rare. The relationships feel real. They’re messy and sad and though there’s an abundance of communication; there’s a lack of understanding. You must know yourself and what you desire before you can truly engage with another person. Once Julie has grown and matured, she moves confidently into her future.

Drinks With Films rating: 4 1/2 cups of coffee from an artsy bistro where time has stopped (out of 5)

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