Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Foreign-Film Wednesday

It's not a French movie this week but I watched the wonderful The Worst Person in World (2021) a romantic drama from Norway about a young woman named Julie trying to figure out what she wants. It's a topic lots of us can relate to.

Julie is a bright young woman who gets bored easily. When we meet her she is a medical student but gives it up to try psychology, then switches to photography, then settles into a life as a bookseller. (Huh, familiar.) She gets into a relationship with Aksel, a comics artist a decade or so older, but that relationship might founder on the subject of children. Aksel, leaning into middle age, leans hard on Julie to have kids, which she is deeply ambivalent about. Things happen; time passes.

The movie stars Renate Reinseve as Julie and is directed by Joachim Trier. These names mean nothing to me but the movie was sweet, moving and affecting, and Julie felt very real and relatable to me. I liked how the film took on the subject of having children without really taking sides, and frankly it was nice to see a childfree heroine who was happy and thriving. I dislike stories that show the only route to happiness is conventional domestication, or that punish women for making their own path, even if the resolution felt like a cop-out.

I don't know what makes Julie "the worst person in the world"- her agency, her will to live life on her own terms, her lack of interest in kids. The relationship between Julie and Aksel definitely hit a nerve for me, especially towards the end, and tears were shed. It's a movie I'll probably turn to again.

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