Julie (Renata Reinsve) started med school because of the difficulty level for admissions. Relentlessly ambitious, her attention soon shifts to psychology: anatomy is too matter of fact for her. Then, she dreams of becoming a photographer, but ends up working at a bookstore to pay the bills. Her indecisiveness carries over to her romantic relationships. After brief liaisons with her professor and a model, she finds herself torn between her longtime partner Aksel (Anders Danielsen Lie) and new acquaintance Eivind (Hebert Nordrum).
While the love triangle takes up a significant amount of the film’s 12 chapters, The Worst Person in the World is above all a film about the most important relationship of all: the one one has with oneself. Julie is anything but the “worst person in the world” – she is simply adrift, wrestling with the dilemma that if all doors are open, how does one choose which to walk through?
The film starts out with quick editing, upbeat music and a spring in Julie’s step. There is a millennial girl power vibe to her introduction. These sequences in particular make it difficult to marry the creative mastermind behind this film with the director of sombre addiction drama Oslo, August 31st (that Joachim Trier presented at Cannes in 2011) or the supernatural romance thriller Thelma. What these films have in common, however, is a fascination for the human mind, the innermost desires and occasional proclivity to self-sabotage. Trier creates captivating characters and manages to keep viewers on their side through all their missteps.
The Norwegian filmmaker is not afraid to experiment, even here, using varying stylistic devices for different chapters – in a way becoming his character.
Leading actress Reinsve is a vision, especially when she shares the screen with Nordrum. Their chemistry is palpable – heartbreakingly so as they spend an entire night together, determined not to cheat on their respective partners.
This competition entry is a strong contender for the coveted Palme d’Or.
The Worst Person in the World (Verdens Verste Menneske) does not have a UK release date set.
For further information about the event visit the Cannes Film Festival website here.