Life is a long and arduous journey that can take many twists and turns, love and joy can turn to heartbreak and sadness depending on the choices you make along the way. The Worst Person in the World is one of the best depictions of this to grace the silver screen, becoming one of the more life-affirming films you could hope to see.

The chronicles of four years in the life of Julie (Renate Reinsve), a young woman who navigates the troubled waters of her love life and struggles to find her career path, leading her to take a realistic look at who she really is.

Split into twelve chapters and bookended by a prologue and epilogue, Joachim Trier's film is a beautiful insight into Julie's life and how her choices throughout not only impact her but the people she meets along the way. We see her fall in and out of love as well as dealing with mistakes when illness hits a major player in her past. Deft direction and writing, along with Eskil Vogt, by Trier allows The Worst Person in the World to feel more natural and not ham-fisted in depicting romance, making it one of the best alternate romantic comedies out there.

The intimacy of Kasper Tuxen's cinematography allows a truly up close and personal account of such a pivotal time in Julie's life, Olivier Bugge Coutté's editing seamlessly traversing the audience through each important chapter in this stage of her life. The film possesses such a tenderness as a result, brilliantly infused with some incredibly dark humour from Trier and Vogt's screenplay.

Anchored by a tremendous performance by Renate Reinsve, The Worst Person in the World adds another layer to an already impressive structure. Reinsve exudes such a screen presence it's hard to take your eyes away from the film, making Julie both a character you root for and kind of hate at the same time due to her choices. It's a much more complex performance than the surface level may show and it's a real shame Reinsve's name hasn't been banded about a lot more this awards season. Anders Danielsen Lie delivers a truly memorable supporting performance as Aksel, the latter stages of the film in particular proving to be incredibly emotional between Julie and her former partner.

The Worst Person in the World gets the year of film off to a rather magnificent start, showcasing that international cinema is thriving and sure to continue doing so, even if subtitles remain a bit of a barrier for some.

Verdict: ½


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