The Worst Person in the World

The Worst Person in the World ★★★★

While Titane went home with the Palme d’Or at Cannes this year, the general consensus among festival-goers seemed to veer in favour of another contender that stole the hearts of all who witnessed its proclaimed heartfelt greatness. That film, in case you haven’t put it together by now, was The Worst Person in the World. So did Joachim Trier quietly manage to bless us with this year’s The Handmaiden? This year’s Mommy? This year’s Parasite???? The short answer? … No, not exactly.

The long answer? Joachim Trier, through a wonderfully frazzled performance by Renate Reinsve, crafts a charmingly quirky examination of Millennial/Gen-Z anxiety. It’s no mystery why the film has struck such a deep nerve with… Millennials and Gen-Zers. While having his index and middle-finger so firmly placed on the pulse of the younger generations’ strife without becoming a “how do you do, fellow kids?”-type of filmmaker definitely earns Trier some major credit, I can’t help but feel like there’s something missing at the core of this film to carry it beyond the label of “latest great-film-of-the-week for 20-somethings.”

Now you may read all that and wonder what exactly is wrong with being the latest great-film-of-the-week for 20-somethings. Well… nothing, really. A good movie can be good without being revolutionary, and that’s what Joachim Trier accomplishes with his latest. It’s just that, as Trier keeps his fingers on the pulse of the (relative) youth’s anxieties, I myself struggle to place my finger on what exactly The Worst Person in the World is missing. I will say what it wasn’t missing was a captivating lead performance, because Reinsve really showed up to provide depth to a character that doesn’t get much in the way of “showy Oscar acting” moments. Maybe all the film was missing were managed expectations… so thanks for that one, Cannes crowd!

2021 Ranked.


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