The Worst Person in the World

The Worst Person in the World ★★★★½

I love love love this film. It’s been haunting me and I’ve seen it a few times by this point giving me to time to really simmer with my thoughts before my review for Vulture you can read here. I dig into the acting, visual and narrative playfulness, and the nature of coming of age works centered on women. Excerpt below:

“It would be too easy to label Julie — forever pawing for new men, new art, new experiences — a “messy woman.” The phrase is so often applied to HBO dramedies and Sally Rooney that it’s lost all its brawn. But what kind of story can you arm-link The Worst Person in the World to? Each comparison I’ve seen floating toward the film feels like a cudgel eager to beat Trier’s story into a shape it resists, and often ignores the loosely disconnected trilogy of which it’s a part. It’s true that without context and at first blush, The Worst Person in the World doesn’t look like a film I would gravitate toward. (I typically find the trials and tribulations of messy white women in today’s pop culture to be hollow and far too removed from a communal existence I find more intriguing.) But Trier’s approach is piercingly aware of the bruises we accumulate trying to become something more than our present selves. It isn’t just the narrative construction or the visual bravura (another, less jarring image that remains with me: cigarette smoke shotgunning slowly from one wanting mouth to another) that separates Worst Person from other coming-of-age stories. It’s Trier’s ability — as well as his collaborators’, like an Oslo Trilogy constant, the excellent and perceptive Lie — to chart a clear-eyed, openhearted romanticism without falling prey to corny overtures.

A conversation framed by swaying trees, their shared history bearing down on the pair, brought up a host of emotions I still have no receptacle for — emotions tethered to a fear of mortality, a fear that I’m not doing enough, a fear that what it is I do day in and day out isn’t quite being alive.”

Block or Report

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