The Worst Person In The Wold TIFF Review

The Plot

The third film in director Joachim Trier’s ‘Oslo Trilogy’ follows a young Medical Student Julie on a journey torn between a relationship with a significantly older comic artist and a young barista she bonds with following a chance encounter.

The Good

Joachim Trier’s acclaimed storytelling reaches a compelling climax with this black comedy that bears all the hallmarks of rapidly becoming an instant classic. Fiercely subverting the longstanding and increasingly tired romantic tropes the film is imbued with a rich lyrical charm and raw quality that is by now utterly lacking in the overly sanitised and saccharine offerings of cheerful but blandly formulaic Hollywood romantic comedies.

Leading actress Renate Reinsve launches herself towards assured stardom with a performance that has already deservedly seen her collect top acting honours at the Cannes Film Festival where the film itself was rewarded with the Palme d’Or. Reinsve’s performance as Julie is both nuanced and compelling. Her character grapples with the poignant existential struggles of desire, aging and the daunting prospect of defining herself and her relationships.

Centred around Reinsve’s grounded and authentic emotional portrayal the film is able at times to indulge in truly joyous flights of fantasy. One hallucinogenic sequence in particular lurches towards surreal horror, whilst another breathtakingly captures the adrenalin fuelled passion of new attraction in a city that is otherwise reduced to an absolutely literal standstill. It’s an unforgettable and poetic metaphor packed into a film which consistently delivers evocative emotional truths.

The film’s darker and bittersweet tone also provides an edge and melancholic depth to the story that goes beyond the usual simple catharsis of celebrating great love by proxy in more typical romantic comedies.  It’s an exceptional example of storytelling that speaks to universal truths that are by turns inspiring and unavoidably painful.

The Bad

Despite the film’s many undeniably well-crafted qualities it remains true that for those seeking the simple feel good escape of a relentlessly cheerful romantic comedy this film may be a little too close to reality to meet their needs.

Though some will identify more directly with the existential melancholy and malaise this story offers, for those that don’t it might at times be a slightly unwelcome reminder of those apparent real world anxieties.

In pursuing a more authentic exploration of the bittersweet realities of romance the film knowingly sacrifices some of the emotional sugar rush provided by romantic dramas that merely conveniently sweep past these messy layers of tragedy and lingering confusion.

The Ugly Truth

Fully deserving of the it has already amassed The Worst Person In The World is a rare gift of a film that demonstrates the true strength of international cinema that exists beyond the starch confines of lazy Hollywood blockbusters and cliché ridden genre cinema. Visually unforgettable, charming and emotionally charged this is effective and essential storytelling at its’ finest.

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