Why You Must See Joachim Trier’s “The Worst Person in the World”


     2021 was a great year for film, specifically those nominated in the international category at the Oscars. We saw Drive My Car, Flee, The Hand of God and others, which all tell hauntingly beautiful stories, giving commentary on world issues that rarely receive acknowledgment. However, my personal favorite movie from the international category (and of 2021) was The Worst Person in the World, directed by Joachim Trier. It is Trier’s third and final film in his Oslo trilogy, which showcases the beautiful Norwegian capital by highlighting unique stories with similar themes.

     The film centers around Julie, a woman in her 20s who navigates relationships and her career choices. In each chapter of her life, we see Julie make decisions that establish her voice, though, in many ways, are extremely destructive to both those around her and herself–hence the film’s title. Despite her recklessness, I cannot help but sympathize with this protagonist. This movie leaves a significant impression on the viewer, as it teaches a difficult theme: “we are beautiful, but we are flawed”. For myself and others, this is a terribly hard concept to accept. In Trier’s direction, we see themes of self-reflection, grief, and love that depict the most intimate moments–all explanations for why Julie acts the way she does.

     To summarize all of my thoughts as to why this film is so beautiful–a review from Letterboxd user @Hungkat, “Our youth is leaving us, straying further and further away from our grasp in imperceptible and minute ways, so subtly that some of us may not even notice how much we’ve lost. We are scared of changes because we don’t know how to change. So we fumble helplessly in the dark, looking for direction for personal growth. Relationships, future, family, choices, love, regrets, and heartaches are too much, but they are unavoidable. We see people walk in and out of our lives almost every day. We make some of them happy and will be remembered by them until they die. But to others, we are a bleak memory. We are beautiful, but we are flawed. We try to be kind but sometimes we end up choosing ourselves over kindness. But it’s okay…All we can do is try our best, find happiness our own way, and live our life the way we know it.”