The Worst Person in the World

The Worst Person in the World ★★★★★

Ever so rarely, you watch film that just feels like a perfectly timed magical encounter. Like it’s made for you. Or like you could have made it. Or at least you wish you would have made it. That film to me is Triers final entry in the Oslo trilogy: The Worst Person in the World.

After watching the earlier films of Trier last week, I was already in great anticipation for this one. But it still just hit me so unexpectedly deep at an emotional that right after I was at a loss for words. When the credits hit, I just had this gigantic lump in my throat. A lump that made me feel depressed and uncertain about my life. But also a lump that I cherished. A Lump that I needed and that made me feel alive, that made me feel seen and gave me strength.

Now I am sitting here at my desk, trying to cope with my feelings. And when I’m coping these days, I want to try more often to put it into writing. Because it helps me reflect and contemplate. But then again, expressing emotions through words is sometimes a thing of impossibility. Sometimes when we feel the most, the words are the rarest. After all, it is no coincidence that I am in love with moving images. It is just like Julie said at some point: This is the crux of our relationship. Everything we feel, we have to put into words. Sometimes, I just want to feel things.

And when she said that, I felt that. Just like a felt her. Julie as a character. As a person, who is restless, crazy about the ever-expending new, determined yet still uncertain. Because I can identify with her, but also because I am not like her. Because I’d wish to be more/not like her and be the truest version of myself. A lot of my admiration of Julie’s character is due to the singular performance by Renate Reinsve who well-deserved that Cannes Best Actress Award and a lot more. It is one of those where I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing that role. The hundred faces of Reinsve now are Julie, Julie is Reinsve.

Besides it’s amazing protagonist, something else the film does incredibly well is playing with desires and fantasies and ultimately resolving them in disillusionment. I also read that as a kind of meta commentary on the romanticizing images the cinema so often provides. After all cinema is a kind of form of magic/illusion. When we only see glimpses of a romance or an adventure everything’s tends to seem to be covered by a veil of lightness, even the heavy. Wrapped in a cocoon of music, cuts, lighting and a makeup even a shit whopper might look like a mouthwatering feast. But here in The Worst Person the lightness, the spontaneity of youth, the burning fire of first loves, that we are caught up in, are not left at that. They are reflected upon and deconstructed, leaving the viewer with the ever so bittersweet feeling that resembles life in his rawest form. To me this is true cinema.

Julie sparked so many different feelings in me which I cannot fathom all at once. But maybe the major thought that stuck with me since the viewing is this: Can you miss that, which you have never known?

Slight spoilers ahead:

I think this idea (or rather question) is also put on display in of my favorite scenes when Julie literally stops the time to reflect on her current life and possible futures. Should she part from her current boyfriend? Was that first flirting thrill with the new acquaintance something worth diving into? In the frozen time span, he is the only other defrosted person. They spend a wonderful night together and the next morning, she unwinds the time, and her decision is made. She will break up with Aksel. And here she is determined. Because unlike everybody seems to be saying about her, she is seeing her decisions through to the end. Only that she is one only one who determines when that end has come. She may or may not change her mind later, but in the moment, she always knows what she wants. Here Julie says: I feel like a spectator in my own life. Like I’m playing a supporting role in my own life. Now she is taking that lead role back once again.

Here are two things that resonate deeply with me and that are interconnected: the feeling of being a spectator of one’s own life and stopping the time as a measure of taking back control. Stopping time is a superpower that I often wish I had. To halt the never-ending progressing stream of inexorable time to take a true break. To take a step back, to think unhastily, to avoid making rash choices that manifest permanently. But it was this scene that made so clear to me, that even if you could do that, in the end it wouldn’t make any difference. You could still make the wrong choice. You could also do the right one. But most importantly, you still would never know which one is which. There is no reverse mode in the irreversible. And accepting this and acknowledging that there is no wrong choice, when there is no right one either, allows for existential freedom. When right and wrong is a principle of relativity, there is nothing to compare a choice to, and then the concept partly loses its meaning, but also its chains. The infinite (futures) manifests in the finite (reality) but life is a first-time trial and error experiment. And I think Julie got that. She goes with her guts and in that lies so much strength and empowerment. The only thing that is certain is uncertainty and what matters is that you play the lead in the grand improv theater that is your life.

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