ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Best in The Worst Person in the World

The Worst Person in the World is a definitive statement on the existential crisis faced by the current generation.

[The author would like to thank Pankaj Kumar and Rajarshi Dasgupta who were generous enough to read and comment on an initial draft of the article.] 


The hermeneutics of Hans-Georg Gadamer and Paul Ricoeur in the 20th century firmly established the reader at the centre of a texts universe. A shift from mining the authorial intended meaning to excavating what happens in front of the text is what preoccupies this heritage. Fresh into my graduate class, I was blown away by the novelty and boldness of these arguments. Rather than unearthing the timeless and exact meaning of things, I was now seduced by the eclectics of phenomenology and hermeneutics. Exploring the new feelings and emotions that a film tried to tap and the new things about the world that I would be able to visualise after watching, it became an irresistible proposition. It is with this idea that I write about The Worst Person in the World (2021).

An acclaimed Norwegian film directed by Joachim Trier, The Worst Person in the World is set in Oslo and tells the story of Julie, a young woman turning 30, faced with existential uncertainty over what she wants from life, navigating career choices, men, and jobs. Characteristic of the liquidity of our times, Julie lives in genuine aporias about finding her passion in life. This is brilliantly captured by her career choices—enthusiastic about medicine at one point and then shifting to photography to writing to psychology to working at a bookstore. This is also captured well through the contrasting men who come into her life. While Aksel, the male protagonist, comes across as secure and academic, the other male lead, Eivind, is the opposite. Julie’s escapism will speak more to the urban Gen Z in India—a generation that grew up experiencing the full effects of liberalisation—than to people born earlier, bound by the traditional ethics surrounding love and marriage.

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Updated On : 31st Jul, 2022
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