I remember seeing the trailer for this movie last year and thinking, “This looks like an ode to late-twenties selfishness. Puke.” But, then I thought: Isn’t that exactly the time when someone should be selfish, especially when it comes to relationships? Isn’t that exactly the time we are supposed to date in person (or online), and fail, fail, fail, want, and need?
We watch our protagonist, Julie (Renate Reinsve), interweave through career choices and relationships with an indecisiveness both understandable and cringeworthy (thus relatable to anyone who didn’t settle soon after college). She may always be moving to the beat of her own drum, but at least she is moving forward.
The Worst Person in the World is about second guessing when other lives are at stake, self-reflective regret, and maybe some missing gratitude. No one is perfect, and neither is this movie, but where it shines is in the sunrise eyes of Reinsve and her ability to conjure sympathy and disappointment. Where it dims is in the neatly wrapped conclusion of a morality lesson.
Life is much messier than this, and I wanted the movie to linger in the gray of its designed principles. At least it knows that the “grass is always greener,” and because it’s a movie, it does the right thing by metaphorically hitting the pause button and allowing its characters (and audience) the chance to open what is behind door #2.
The introductory vignettes display like Annie Hall souvenirs but in a contemporary Oslo, Norway, where the ups and downs of dating are just as lighthearted, aggravating, and painful. There aren’t many other comparisons, and this is a good thing: The Worst Person in the World is a refreshing take on making the wrong choices until we know how to make them right.
“I don’t get many things right the first time.
In fact, I am told that a lot.
Now I know all the wrong turns, the stumbles, and falls
Brought me here.”
“The Luckiest,” Ben Folds