The Worst Person in the World ~ A Non-Spoiler Review

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Photo montage of scenes from The Worst Person in the World. Central image is the poster for the film.


The Worst Person in the World (2021) is a Norwegian drama/romance/comedy feature film. 2 hr 8 min, in Norwegian with English subtitles. Cert 15 U.K.


“The chronicles of four years in the life of Julie, 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.” IMDb


Renate Reinsve as Julie
Anders Danielsen Lie as Aksel
Herbert Nordrum as Eivind
Hans Olav Brenner as Ole Magnus
Helene Bjørneby as Karianne
Vidar Sandem as Per Harald
Maria Grazia Di Meo as Sunniva
Lasse Gretland as Kristoffer
Karen Røise Kielland as Tone
Marianne Krogh as Eva
Thea Stabell as Ă…se
Deniz Kaya as Adil


Writers: Joachim Trier, Eskil Vogt
Director: Joachim Trier
Composer: Ola Fløttum
Cinematographer: Kasper Tuxen
Editor: Olivier Bugge Coutté
Production Designer: Roger Rosenberg
Art Director: Mirjam Veske
Costume Designer: Ellen Dæhli Ystehede
Sound Designer: Gisle Tveito
Animation Director: Sabine Ravn
Music Department: Amir Cheraghian, Henrik Hawor, Silje Katralan, Goran Obad, Emilie Sørensen

English language poster for The Worst Person in the World.


The Worst Person in the World is the third and final film in the “Oslo Trilogy”. Links to reviews for the two other films in the trilogy, Reprise and Oslo, August 31st are at the end of this review. All three of these films were co-written by Eskil Vogt and Joachim Trier with the latter directing all of them.

Anders Danielsen Lie has been in all 3 of the films in the Oslo Trilogy. Hans Olav Brenner was also in Oslo, August 31st. Renate Reinsve had one, small and insignificant part in Oslo, August 31st but after an impromptu meeting with Joachim Trier (one day after deciding she would give up acting for carpentry), he worked on the script for this film with the intention that she would play the lead. The rest is, as they say, history.

Locations: Oslo, Norway
Hospital: UllevĂĄl Sykehus, Kirkeveien 166, Oslo
Norli Bookstore: Universitetsgata 22-24, Oslo
Eivind working in the café: Dronning Eufemias Gate 18, Oslo
Opening scene reception for Aksel’s book: Eke ergrestauranten, Kongsveien 15, Oslo
Film I Väst, Nohab Industrial Estate, Trollhättan, Västra Götalands Iän, Sweden

Norwegian poster for The Worst Person in the World


There has been a myriad of reviews of The Worst Person in the World over the past year or so and this is my own, personal response to this multi-award-winning and nominated film.

Renate Reinsve as Julie in a scene from The Worst Person in the World

Whilst this is the final part of the Oslo Trilogy I think that it can be happily watched by someone who has not watched either of the previous two films; my companion who watched has not seen either.

It is usually a good sign if a film is still making you think about it, leaving an abiding impression and memories days after watching – and this has certainly been the case for this film.

One thing I really like about Joachim Trier’s films is that they always have a clear direction in their narrative. And another is the feelings they evoke in me towards the characters and their respective stories. Using a structure that is essentially literary for this film with a prologue, epilogue and chapters works extremely well.

The Worst Person in the World has a protagonist who has flaws (very human in this respect) but who evolves as the film progresses and is not always easy to like makes for a fascinating, emotional journey. To set other characters beside them that they meet and fall in and out of love with makes for some great drama.

This is a young woman who reminded me a little of the main character in Ninjababy – yet another who is unable to finish a single “project”. At least, that is, until she finds out who she is and can shake off her desperate and ultimately futile attempts to gain recognition and love from a father who could not care less about her. She learns to move on and to not allow this to keep her “stuck”.

Vidar Sandem as Per Harald

That it is a truly tragic event that allows her to do this is… well… it is life, isn’t it?

Parts of The Worst Person in the World are funny, but perhaps not as laugh out loud funny as I had anticipated. It certainly has an acute eye for irony and modern patterns of behaviour (the 3% Sami activism raised a wry smile). The attempt to put up a tent without practicing first at home brought back hilarious personal memories (yes, I can laugh about it now).

Anders Danielsen Lie as Aksel in a scene from The Worst Person in the World

Other parts are tragic and just so sad. I am not ashamed to say that parts made me cry and another made me audibly wince.

The performances in The Worst Person in the World are outstanding. Not only Renate Reinsve as Julie, who deservedly won an Oscar for her role, but also
Anders Danielsen Lie as Aksel who is a phenomenal actor! The whole supporting cast is as solid as a rock.

There are some very VERY surreal parts in this movie (blame the magic mushrooms) that made me blink more than once or twice.

The direction and cinematography are world-class in this film and both serve to tell a story with a distinct style and form. It all seems so real and immediate. The use of music and songs – aspects I have LOVED in Joachim Trier’s other films – is incredibly effective. The sound design is excellent too. The signature of Joachim Trier is firmly on this but with something new to see and tell.

Herbert Nordrum (left) as Eivind and Renate Reinsve (right) as Julie in a scene from The Worst Person in the World

Certain scenes and images remain in my memory from watching – this has happened to me when watching all 3 films in the trilogy. Picking out just four: a scene where she runs through the streets of Oslo while everyone and everything else is frozen in time; another where she is smoking and exhales as the cigarette smoke wafts into her companion’s mouth; as she is walking along above the city and we see a range of emotions pass over her face and a fantastic encounter with a reindeer.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching The Worst Person in the World. Partly for the imagery, partly for the wonderful performances and the music but most of all for the characters, especially Julie and Aksel, who seemed so real and who I felt I really got to know as people. This is a film I would happily watch again, but I will take tissues with me next time.


19 Wins, 84 Nominations

Some of the wins:
Cannes Film Festival (2021) Best Actress ~ Renate Reinsve
Chicago International Film Festival (2021) Silver Hugo Best Cinematography ~ Kasper Tuxen
International Cinematographers Film Festival (2021) Silver Camera 300 ~ Kasper Tuxen
International Cinephile Society Awards (2022) Best Supporting Actor ~ Anders Danielsen Lie
Lumiere Awards, France (2022) Best International Coproduction ~ Joachim Trier
National Society of Film Critics Awards (2022) Best Supporting Actor ~ Anders Danielsen Lie

Nominated for 2 Oscars (2022) Best Original Screenplay ~ Eskil Vogt, Joachim Trier; Best International Feature Film ~ Norway
Nominated for 2 BAFTAS (2022) Best Film Not in the English Language; Best Leading Actress ~ Renate Reinsve
Nominated for the Palme d’Or Cannes Film Festival (2021)


Link to a review of Reprise (2006):

Link to a review of Oslo, August 31st (2011):

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