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Storyline (warning: spoilers)
There’s a restlessness that arises within when, by society’s punitive standards, one’s youth begins inevitably fading away. As you perform the taxing charade of adulthood, with your twenties now concluded and your thirties ticking down, the urgency to achieve, to fall in love forever, all to prove you’ve got something to show for your earthbound time, settles in.
Segmented into a dozen chapters (plus a prologue and an epilogue), the literary-structured film introduces Julie with a montage of her college days trapped in a swirl of indecisiveness and exploration, between career path changes and romantic flings. But by the end of the first act, Julie will turn 30 and be faced with the looming question of potential motherhood.
Part of Julie’s growth in the gracefully whimsical The Worst Person in the World, as she navigates an estrangement from her father, comes from moments about her fortitude to step away from a situation or a person in order to pursue her own happiness. There’s an agency in her perceived recklessness that places her in a limbo between juvenile hedonism and expected maturity.
Each chapter in The Worst Person in the World feels like a complete, unique thought encapsulating something real in unrealistic visual terms—like the tracks on an eclectic album, which even if they vary in tone comprise a cohesive whole. With Tuxen and editor Olivier Bugge Coutté embellishing the playfulness of the screenplay, Trier conceives highly stimulating instances such as with the agile camera movements that accompany Aksel as he plays air drums in a musical driven trance, or in the hilarious bizarreness of a drug-induced trip that features splashes of animation. The value is in the bravery to see the crumbles of a former dream or a past relationship and still try again in earnest from scratch; to be aware that the same mistakes may come along and that growing pains may never vanish, to embrace that we are on nobody’s timeline but our own..