The Worst Person in the World

The Worst Person in the World ★★★★½

In The Worst Person In The World we are looking back across the Oslo fjord, through Julia’s eyes, at the life of a young thirty-something in 2021.

The Worst Person In The World is a very strong film because it is relatable. Not in the sense that I recognized myself in the main character. Because the main character has a very different character than mine and is in a different stage of life. But recognizable in the sense of what keeps a 20/30/40/50 year old busy in a Western culture in 2021. I recognized thoughts, habits, frustrations, (re)actions, values, dilemmas, worries and so much more. The film feels like I'm on the bus observing people’s manners and conversations or listening to my (group of) friends their ideas and concerns.

In a very natural way, Trier weaves together 12 chapters of Julia's life. This structure choice gives the film a smooth flow, literally you are dragged along on different thought paths, figuratively you can see it as way of presenting our current society which in sociology is defined by flows or fluidity. Because the chapters are chosen not in a way that they tell a lovely chronological story but by means of titles that tell us something about crucial thoughts and themes that characterize a life in a globalizing, modernizing and technological advanced world. Which also makes this film much stronger than Oslo, 31st August in my opinion. This film is much more universal. It is not, as it seems at first glance, only about the main character Julia, but about how each different individual in the film chooses his or her own way and how Julia’s observations of that give her enormous choice stress and confuse her.

The film shows both the ugly sides of our society as the example above and the beautiful sides of modern culture. For example there is a very powerful scene in which a man in a hospital is brought to a higher level by music through Bluetooth sound-insulating headphones. Which through amazing editing, bright sound differences, zoomed in fast following shots is extra catchy portrayed. That wonderful editing and eye for right camera perspective at the right time are a constant throughout the film. The best example of this is in the scene of the poster where dreams and reality are mixed. Fast-paced images of Oslo or maybe a symbolic generalisation of a society where everything must go fast(er) follow one another in some seconds while in the streets everyone stands still, except of Julia pursuing her goal/inner desire. Only by visuals, this scene raises the question Am I the worst person in the world?

This inner thought process is what we follow throughout the film and is portrayed by a strong cast that conveys intimacy, naturalness and honesty combined with images that make us feel very close and above all do not conceal reality but rather radiate hope in a society where nobody is perfect.

In one of the last scenes the sun sets in Aker Brygge. The warm orange rays give hope. When Julia looks at the sun maybe after all, she is not the worst person in the world or at least she doesn’t feel anymore as the worst person in the world. A new chapter 13 can begin.

Looking back for Julia Oslo never looked so beautiful and sad at the same time. Oslo's sunset changed Julia but perhaps also in a way me. I always carry the memory of the most beautiful sunsets at the Oslo fjord warmly in my heart.

Oslo, Julia og jeg elsker deg.

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