Sick of Myself (2022)

Sick of Myself (2022)

A deeply unlikeable protagonist makes for an excruciating — but nevertheless wickedly funny — satire of narcissism



France, Norway
Comedy, Drama
Anders Danielsen Lie, Andrea Bræin Hovig, Fredrik Stenberg Ditlev-Simonsen
97 min


It’s a shame Norway already has a movie titled ‘The Worst Person in the World’, because that’s a perfect descriptor for Signe.

What it's about

In Oslo, a young woman goes to galling lengths to redirect attention away from her successful boyfriend.

The take

One woman’s main character syndrome reaches shocking lows in this vicious Norwegian satire of social-media-era narcissists. Signe (Kristine Kujath Thorp) and her artist boyfriend Thomas (Eirik Sæther) are a deeply toxic couple who torture everyone around them with their constant, petty one-upmanship. When he lands a flashy magazine spread, though, Signe’s usual tactics for slyly redirecting attention her way don’t cut it anymore, and so this compulsive liar takes drastic action and begins overdosing on pills banned for their serious dermatological side effects.

Signe's Munchausen-esque actions have their desired effect: the physically dramatic results instantly make her the center of attention — but not indefinitely. As she craves increasingly bigger spotlights, the film toggles between reality and scenes from her imagination, including a morbid sexual fantasy in which her funeral proves so popular the priest becomes a bouncer, turning away sobbing mourners whom Signe noticed hadn’t visited her in hospital. The rampant narcissism on display here is at turns hilarious and excruciating: Sick of Myself’s sharp social observation skills make it feel, in places, like a movie by cringe-master Ruben Östlund. That stomach-turning effect carries through to the ending, which darkly suggests that, for someone like Signe, even narcissism itself is a condition that can be weaponized for attention.

What stands out

Thorp and Sæther’s performances. As aware of their similarities as they are, neither Signe nor Thomas ever directly address their behavior with each other — but, thanks to the actors’ articulate performances, we can still feel their arrogant jealousy ratcheting up when the focus is diverted away from either of them. The quiet tussle for power that rages between them in every social situation is wince-inducing. Take, for example, the scene in which Thomas is giving a triumphant speech at a dinner celebrating his exhibition opening: an irate Signe invents a lethal peanut allergy and pantomimes a severe reaction to steal his thunder — but, while the other guests scramble to help her, he insists on finishing his speech over the clamor. Thorp and Sæther give us plenty such transparently self-obsessed moments in Sick of Myself, and it’s to their credit that the movie is so excruciatingly gripping to watch.

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