peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2022 02 06 TheWorstPersonInTheWorld

The Worst Person in the World

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Odeon 5, 18.00 session (one of only two, the other being on Wednesday coming). Hosted by the Orange Film Society. Perhaps 50 people in theatre 5, mostly of mature years. Once again a Service NSW "Discover" pork barrel got me a seat and a bag of Maltesers; I was allocated something in what I'd consider the middle but sat down in the front section. A pointer from Jason Di Rosso who interviewed the director Joachim Trier. I got the impression that it was going to be something sophisticated or novel as he talked about The Nest in a similar way.

The early part with a rapid-fire voiceover made me think "Norwegian Amelie!" but soon enough the cliches pile up and the last two-thirds drags. Mostly it advertises lux Scandinavian interiors shot through with the anxiety of millennials on the cusp of spawning and of those ten to fifteen years older who are settled in careers and creativity and serial relationships. There's a pregnancy that's just a plot point, a box to tick. Oftentimes we're told or shown the wonder of the leading lass who is generically wilful and impulsive but has less interiority than the housing. That a leading lady is perpetually in need of a man has always been axiomatic. There's not a lot going on here that Generation X didn't grapple with (e.g. McJobs, emotionally scarring hookups, being overeducated); sure, stuff is cheaper now and there's more connectivity, less privacy or expectations thereof, and every generation needs to learn for itself through ignorance, willed or otherwise, of what came before, but we can see the general lack of commitment by how far short everything falls of Trainspotting.

The fantastic Oslo-stopped-in-time scenes in the middle, where the lovelorn lass runs across town to be with her new man and back to break up with her old one, are cinematic magic but do less to rescue the whole thing than Mads Mikkelsen's dancing did for Another Round. Similarly the lass wrote a piece on (specific) sexual relations that struck me as obvious common knowledge but is treated as an insightful literary masterwork; the flaw is to show the thing rather than just allude to it, as Hal Hartley did so well in Henry Fool. Her passivity at her comic-artist boyfriend's dinner parties is clunky. The #metoo interview-with-the-artist in the middle pushes all the existing buttons and no new ones.

A. O. Scott. Main squeeze Aksel is 44; his cohort is too young to be properly Generation X. Julia's lack of female friends is one of many flaws that show this to be a work of man. Ben Kenigsberg doesn't want to complain. Hats off to the marketing guys. Much later, Michael Wood.