Love Scenes: Levity and romance battle existentialism in "The Worst Person in the World”

The sharp, unflinching movie asks – should we reimagine the meaning of love in the modern world?

Zareef Daian
Published : 13 Feb 2024, 02:30 PM
Updated : 13 Feb 2024, 02:30 PM

Love Scenes is a column recommending movies with intriguing takes on love and romance for the week of Valentine’s Day.

In a mortal world where romance is plagued by the murk of delusion and detachment, should we reimagine what love can mean?

In his 2021 romantic drama The Worst Person in the World, Norwegian director Joachim Trier gives an answer laced with playful melancholy.

Through 12 chapters it wanders through time alongside the flighty Julie, portrayed by a captivating Renate Reinsve. As Julie flips through majors, relationships, and traumas through the seasons, the narrative delves into the key existential dilemmas of a generation caught between self-discovery and disillusion.

Trier’s perspective is unflinching, dissecting the impermanence of our relationships and the fleeting moments that can come to define our lives. The film confronts us with the uncomfortable truth that love, like our lives, is inherently transient.

But that doesn’t mean it dwells in cynicism. On the contrary, the movie finds beauty in this transience, asking us to celebrate each moment as it comes and goes.

Venturing beyond the confines of the typical romance story, it delves deeper into the fabric of human connection. It scrutinises the bonds we form with others and with ourselves, questioning the ways in which we construct and define our identity in the digital age.

While it may never become a romantic favourite, The Worst Person in the World has a keen understanding of the complexity of emotion and refuses to offer easy answers, respecting the intelligence of its audience to carve out their musings themselves.

As Valentine’s Day nears, let it be a reminder that the quest for love and meaning is a journey fraught with uncertainty, but also one brimming with the potential for growth and self-discovery.

This article is part of Stripe,'s special publication focusing on culture and society from a youth perspective.