maneleeo’s review published on Letterboxd:
One would know 12 chapters aren't enough to actually understand a person, but they sure are sufficient to get into the turmoil of being young and afraid of what's to come. 12 chapters, a prologue and epilogue to be precise.
Joachim Trier's crafted a beautiful screenplay about a young woman on the verge of becoming 30 (something others would think of as a proper adut whose life is in order), and how she had to fail many times to finally get to herself. Although she touches the lives of many people, this is nonetheless Julie's story and how she goes from feeling like a trainwreck to loving herself. It's not an easy path, and it's a road that will hurt yourself and those around you. And it works so well because we can feel how human she is, how real she feels, it's a character that can be touched and can be spoken to (opposing characters that feel thin and made of paper). Julie starts off as a med student, she then understands that's not what she wishes for her life and switches to psychology. Her mother is very cool with that decision. She then has the realization that photography is her true passion, which leaves her working at a bookstore. Not exactly what she wanted to do, but you have to work in order to survive. Also, she doesn't seem to be very stable when it comes to relationships quickly jumping from one to the next. That might happen when you aren't truly ok with yourself. The film show us that the way you relate to others will only work if you are working well with yourself. There is no if, you have to "love" yourself in order to love others and the world around you (take the word love in the meaning you find most suiting).
And with such a captivating character, the world becomes a thrilling affair. Not in the sense of finding excitement in every corner, but in the sense that life is happening right in front of your eyes and you have to grab it, Julie has to grab life and find a way to control it, not to be a passive character that only sees things unravel.