‘The Worst Ones’’ Take on Meta-Filmmaking Creates a Compelling Piece of Art

Ulises Duenas


Making a movie about making a movie isn’t uncommon, and some might even think the premise is already played out, but “The Worst Ones” manages to create a convincing and engrossing take on the idea.


A filmmaker in his 50s decides to tell an authentic story depicting the lives of people who live in a poor neighborhood in a city in northern France. In the auditions, the director asks questions to find which of the prospects have complicated lives. Those with disorders, bad reputations, or potential attitude problems are selected since they reflect the harsh realities of everyday life.



The four characters selected are Ryan, Lily, Jesse, and Maylis. All four of the central characters deliver great performances, and combined with the solid script, it makes for a film that succeeds in painting an authentic picture. Seeing each character adapt to acting is fascinating, since each has a different background and reacts to the world of filmmaking differently.


Ryan is a young boy who comes from a broken home and struggles with his emotions. Tiemo Mahaut does a great job of showing his standoffish attitude toward strangers as well as how he slowly starts warming up to the people he works with. Most of his performance is delivered through body language, and it was so convincing that I thought the movie was a documentary at first.



Lily and Ryan are the two characters that experience the most growth and end up being the most likable as a result. Jesse’s character becomes rather stagnant, but that’s also something that could be seen as realistic since some people aren’t ready to change – especially when they’re young. Maylis’ character had the potential to be more interesting but ends up appearing underdeveloped.


The entire movie is also a commentary on the practice of street casting, which is the exact thing that the fictional director in the movie and the actual director of “The Worst Ones” does: taking people who aren’t professionals and having them portray alternate versions of themselves. The criticism of reinforcing negative stereotypes is brought up and characters say that the film risks showing that the neighborhood is worse off than it really is. There’s no right or wrong perspective that the film tries to give the audience and, much like reality, the viewer is left to ponder the subject themselves.


It’s hard to argue against the practice of street casting when it produces such great results like this. Art is fluid when it’s being made, and judging by the end product, I can say that “The Worst Ones” is a triumph that succeeds on multiple levels. Fans of dramas and movie industry commentary should definitely see this film.



Author Bio:

Ulises Duenas is a senior writer at Highbrow Magazine.


For Highbrow Magazine


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