When Renate Reinsve won one of the highest accolades at Cannes, it was justification against anyone who doubted her.
You might not have heard of Renate Reinsve yet, but after seeing her in The Worst Person In The World, you’ll never forget her name.
The Norwegian actor heads up filmmaker Joachim Trier’s unusual romantic comedy, a coming-of-age story that centers on a woman in her 30s whose uncertainty about love, work and family take her on many paths.
Reinsve’s compassionate performance of an imperfect and relatable character was noticed at the Cannes Film Festival in May, where she won the festival’s prestigious Best Actress award.
The little-known actor was as surprised as anyone else, and she barely had time to deal with the momentous occasion as she was pushed into the press room and then straight to Louis Vuitton where she had to return the borrowed jewelry she had adorned that night.
It took her six months before she could really think about what it all meant, especially since she was so close to getting away from it all before that fateful call from Trier.
“The day before Joachim called me, I actually quit acting,” Reinsve told news.com.au. “Because it never really happened [for me]. Lots of productions that I was in, they were so concerned about money and selling tickets and I didn’t like it. So I thought I would do something else.
That something else was going to be carpentry, a trade she found a connection with after renovating a house.
“I felt very empowered, but I was not good at it. Everything is twisted and weird in the house I renovated. And I didn’t see so many women doing carpentry, so I wanted to create an environment where the girls could do it and also fix things themselves.
“Because we throw away so much. I just wanted to learn it to do my own stuff. In carpentry you have this thing and then you have another thing and it goes together and becomes one thing.
“But in acting, maybe I’m right, maybe I’m wrong. But I won’t find out until a year later.
Up to The worst person in the world, Reinsve had not scored a meaty lead. His first film role was in the 2011 film Trier, Oslo, August 31, and he wrote the role of Julie in The Worst Person in the World With Her in Thinking after their collaboration a decade earlier.
And she didn’t have the greatest encouragement to begin with.
“I’ve had so many acting teachers telling me I could never do it because I was only focusing on what I thought was fun and what I really wanted to do,” she shared. . “And I was called lazy, and I even got kicked out of high school because I didn’t clean my desk and do everything I was supposed to do in Norwegian lessons.
“And it was the same teacher who was the drama teacher. I was just focusing on acting, so she told me to leave. She said, “There’s no point in you going here.”
“I have always been the black sheep. But I only did things that I find fun and love to do. Now I’m having a great time and can really stand up for every movie I’ve done throughout. I’m proud of it now.
“But I never thought I was going to be successful somewhere because so many people told me I didn’t have it in me.”
Of course, this drama teacher is now bragging to the local newspaper in the town where she attended school that she was “so happy to be a part of my trip.” Isn’t that just a kick?
Perhaps it was because she was underestimated and overlooked that Reinsve discovered that she could relate to Julie’s story in The worst person in the world, and maybe that’s what Trier saw in Reinsve that he wrote the part with her in mind.
It’s the fact that Julie isn’t perfect, that she’s impulsive, indecisive, and a little self-centered that makes the character so relevant.
“She feels uncomfortable being in her emotions,” Reinsve explained. “She’s uncomfortable being herself and she tries to get out of the situation and stay outside of it.
“I could really recognize the duality of this particular place.
“She was very self-destructive. She was sneaking into a party and trying to ruin everything for herself, like flirting with another guy and having some fun. I like it about Julie, and I can relate to that, being self-destructive.
“We grow up much later than my grandmother or my mother. They had to make their choices earlier.
“It’s a coming of age story and a very good portrait of the times in which we live. It’s a confusing time, there is so much information all over the place and you are supposed to be bragging about but also being invisible.
“You are meant to be perfect, but not too perfect. It’s inhumane. It is not possible.
“Julie has a hard time with that too – she has to be perfect and trying to figure out what it is. And in the end she gives up a bit and accepts that it’s not possible, that she’s sad, lonely and shameful, and that’s good.
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