Now streaming: ‘The Worst Person in the World’ might be the best movie of the year

Renate Reinsve appears in "The Worst Person in the World"

Editor's note: This review originally ran on Feb. 4, 2022 as "The Worst Person in the World" hit theaters. It has been republished in light of the film's recent premiere on Hulu. 

Do we ever stop coming of age? That’s the question that implicitly sits at the heart of director Joachim Trier’s exceptional romantic dramedy, "The Worst Person in the World" — Norway’s official entry for Best International Feature Film at the 2022 Academy Awards and an early contender for best film of the year.

Julie (Renate Reinsve) is a 20-something who swiftly decides that med school isn’t for her, even if she isn’t entirely sure what comes next. Her new boyfriend Aksel (Anders Danielsen Lie) is fifteen years older and struggling to figure out his own next step in life after finding early success as an acclaimed underground comic book artist. 

WATCH: Joachim Trier’s "Thelma" and "Louder Than Bombs"get the app

Trier has nothing but the deepest empathy for his lovably flawed lead characters, who also include Eivind (Herbert Nordrum), the more lighthearted lad who catches Julie’s eye at a party. 

Like the best coming-of-age romances, Trier’s funny, wistful film adds epic emotionality to the relatable minutia of everyday life. 

In the film’s most overtly magical moment, the world literally stops as Julie sneaks away for a romantic tryst. In a surreal trip sequence, magic mushrooms unlock the dark corners of Julie’s subconscious.


Renate Reinsve and Anders Danielsen Lie in "The Worst Person in the World"

Yet the most poignant moments in "The Worst Person in the World" are often the most grounded; a flirtatious meet cute, a melancholy sharing of regrets, a fight that melts away into a quiet moment of reconciliation. If we never really come of age perhaps that’s because there are too many complicated layers to life to ever reach anything resembling a full stop – until, of course, we inevitably do. 

Without ever slipping into sentimentalism, "The Worst Person in the World" understands the warts-and-all beauty of what it means to truly live a life to the fullest, stumbling, striving and messing up along the way.

Grade: A

"The Worst Person in the World" is currently streaming on Hulu. It is also available to rent through Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu and other services. Rated R. 127 minutes. Language: Norwegian. Dir: Joachim Trier. Featuring: Renate Reinsve, Anders Danielsen Lie, Herbert Nordrum. 

This review originally ran as part of our coverage of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.

"The Worst Person in the World" double feature: "Sing Street," streaming free on Tubi

Sing Street (2016): John Carney (the force behind the marvelous romance "Once") turns in another gem of a musical in this 2016 coming-of-age story, which boasts a terrific cast and a score that will stick with you — particularly "Drive it Like You Stole it," which is what you might call an immortal bop. Rated PG-13. 106 minutes. Featuring: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Jack Reynor.

"Sing Street" is streaming free on Tubiget the app

How can you see "The Worst Person in the World"?

"The Worst Person in the World" is now streaming on Hulu for subscribers; plans start at $6.99/month. It's also available for purchase through various V.O.D. (Video On Demand) services.

About the writer: Caroline Siede is a film and TV critic in Chicago, where the cold never bothers her anyway. A member of the Chicago Film Critics Association, she spent four years lovingly analyzing the romantic comedy genre one film at a time in her column When Romance Met Comedy for The A.V. Club. She also co-hosts the movie podcast, Role Calling, and shares her pop culture opinions on Twitter (@carolinesiede).

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