Boasting two Oscar nominations — in the International Feature and Original Screenplay races — Joachim Trier’s lauded The Worst Person in the World is continuing a charmed awards-season run that began last July at the Cannes Film Festival, where lead Renate Reinsve won the Best Actress prize. A humanist story that blends comedy and poignant drama, the film centers on Reinsve’s Julie through good times and bad as she seeks to find herself.
Trier and Reinsve both sat down for Deadline’s Contenders Film: The Nominees event, talking about the journey since those first nervous moments on the Riviera. Trier recalls opening night and screening the film for an audience for the first time. On the red carpet, he says, Reinsve started doing twirls as the paparazzi went crazy and while he thought, “Wow, she’s gutsy.”
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Reinsve says she went for it because in her head it was “the last thing we’ll do with this movie, this is our great moment walking on this red carpet. I couldn’t believe we were there and now this almost a year has been a whirlwind and so overwhelming and so exciting. It’s crazy.”
Given it’s been a while since that first screening, what have Trier and Reinsve learned from the reception of the film in various areas? For Reinsve, she was surprised to see that women of different ages really clicked with the story. “Every time I’ve talked to someone new, they seem to have a very personal experience with the movie,” she said.
Trier adds that in “many places in the world people are identifying with it, and that’s really moving… I think we were going to Cannes talking a lot about the romantic comedy aspects of it. In a strange Scandinavian weird way, this is a romantic comedy in our part of the world — you know, we’re riffing off the great American tradition of George Cukor, we love those films — but the truth is also that as it turns out, it’s quite a serious film about how loss shapes our feelings about ourselves and the choices that we make… Also, we’re discovering the Western middle-class experience of feeling that identity and expectations is this big pressure on us — we share between different countries, it’s not only Norway or New York or Paris; many people feel these themes in their lives.”
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What does Reinsve, who is also nominated as Best Actress at the BAFTAs, think happens to Julie after the movie ends? “I really love the ending because she finally finds some kind of peace, and that’s going through really big turning points… and finally being confronted with who she is and what she’s feeling,” she said. “She finally gets to just rest in her body and in what she is. So, I hope that from now on she will meet someone and be alone also in a more healthy way.”
Trier’s “unexpected” Best Original Screenplay nomination was particularly special given it’s a category he and co-writer Eskil Vogt as Scandinavians “really care about.” Ingmar Bergman, “our great Swedish hero, was nominated a few times for that and the last time anyone from Scandinavia was nominated for that specific category was actually [Bergman’s 1982 film] Fanny and Alexander,” he said.
Check out the panel video above.
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