We Are All the “The Worst Person in the World”


“The Worst Person in the World” is a film anyone can identify with. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Frances Schnepff, Social Media Director

I think that at one point in our lives, we have all felt like the worst person in the world. That feeling comes to life in an entertaining, emotional and sometimes intense way in Joachim Trier’s new film, “The Worst Person in the World.” This Norwegian film takes place over four years of Julie’s life, exploring the turmoils of her careers, relationships and her own self identity. The film is told through 12 chapters, starting with a witty montage of her career history, which sets her up as an incredibly relatable protagonist, one who we can all see ourselves in. 

Julie’s life-crisis begins in the first chapter, when Trier begins to depict her search for herself. She starts in pre-med, then decides she is more interested in psychology of the brain than the actual brain, which leads her to wanting to write, then wanting to photograph and finally working at a local bookstore. This first chapter sets up the film as one of relatability, but also one that dives deeply into the life of Julie. It’s the type of film that feels like you are reading an incredibly well-written book and just can’t put it down. 

 After the first chapter, we are introduced to all of Julie’s past relationships. They are presented in a similar way to her careers: fast, suffocating and products of creative suppression. But then she meets Aksel at a party, he is a cartoonist. He is chic and suave, but funny. The relationship between Julie and Aksel is the one that takes up most of the film. They talk about kids, about Julie’s writing, about his drawing, about themselves. However, like most relationships, and most things in Julie’s life, she becomes bored. She sneaks into a random party in a beautiful Dutch Colonial and meets Eivind. They dance the border of friendship and lust all evening. The whole scene feels like getting butterflies. They smell each other’s armpits, they pee in front of one another, they share some of the most intimate moments without ever cheating — and that is exactly what they are scared of. The night ends and Julie has to go home to her stagnant relationship with Aksel. 

I’m not going to share much more of the actual plot of this film, because I recommend it so strongly, and would never want to spoil it for anyone. However, I think it is important to explain the feeling that arises towards the end of the film. After an unfortunate series of events, Julie finds herself stuck. I would describe this feeling as “the weight of slowly figuring things out.” The final scene was incredibly bittersweet to watch. Trier’s incredible writing and immaculate character development create an intense bond to the characters on-screen; we see ourselves in them.

Julie is represented throughout the entire film as a strong woman; she does not settle, she is independent, she is stubborn and smart and she is not one to depend on these sort of relationships. 

This is a film that has a sort of stickiness to it — it sticks with you. The happiness you feel after watching sticks with you. The way that Julie navigates her relationships sticks with you. The beautiful visuals stick with you. The music, the writing and trials of life all stick with you with that same relatability I was talking about before. It also doesn’t hurt that this film has beautiful cinematography, showing off the landscape and architecture of Oslo, Norway. The cinematography in this film embodies “hygge” and the soft lighting present throughout makes it feel like you are sitting at a fireplace the entire time. 

Overall, I think that “The Worst Person in the World” is a fantastic film, and the perfect dose of mumblecore to start a week. Also, as for the title, I find that it is pretty clear Julie is not the “The Worst Person in the World;” however, I think that Trier called her that because that is who she thought she was. After watching this film and seeing the trials and tribulations of Julie’s life, her normal reactions and honest attitude, I can confidently say that I am also the “The Worst Person in the World,” and there’s a chance you are too.