Luckiest Girl Alive is a 2022 mystery thriller adapted from the novel of the same name by Jessica Knoll. It follows the life of TifAni “Ani” FaNelli, a girl who has been a victim of a gang rape and a school shooting. She aims to rebuild her life with a different image. She doesn’t eat carbs, has a great job in a women’s magazine, and is about to get married to a blueblood. But her trauma haunts her on a daily basis and a documentary is about to be done on her school’s previous mass shooting.
Streaming on Netflix
Luckist Girl Alive (2022) - Movie Review
Plot & Premise
The movie, Luckiest Girl Alive is ultimately a story about intense trauma and one’s ambition to overcome it. From the beginning of the film, our main character, Ani (Mila Kunis) is presented as a woman with a tough exterior despite constantly having flashbacks of her traumatic past. This then became the premise to package the film as a mystery thriller with a Gone Girl-esque vibe. The role of Ani in her school shooting years ago was the main question mark for the viewers and it unpacks itself towards the end of the film.
With such a heavy and relevant topic during the #MeToo movement in 2015, Luckiest Girl Alive had the perfect opportunity to be an empowering piece to encourage women to speak up against their perpetrators. However, the film somehow failed to pack the intense punch that I expected in that area. Perhaps it was due to the vast amount of trauma the character had been through or perhaps it was due to the the fact that the character had also used her fiancé to get where she needed to. By the end of the movie, I felt extremely sympathetic towards Ani as a character for what she had been through, but this felt incomplete as it felt like the film did not drive home the message it could have. It felt like wasted potential.
It is also worth noting that the film is extremely graphic when it comes to the portrayal of the gang rape and mass shooting. The scenes were extremely difficult to watch and a trigger warning in the beginning of the film would definitely help in the case where similar victims would find themselves watching the movie.
As the author, Jessica Knoll also served as the screenplay writer for the film, it is only natural that the film remains relatively faithful to the book. After all, Knoll knows her characters the best and therefore, even when there were creative choices in the film that were not present in the book, audiences could at least respect that those choices were from the original author.
However, this presented a different set of challenge when it comes to character development. Unlike a novel, the film did not have enough time to flesh out all the characters as Knoll did in the book. Hence, when it comes to watching the film as a standalone movie, certain areas felt totally disjointed and characters like Arthur and Ben seemed to suddenly turned violent out of nowhere.
Mila Kunis served her character well throughout the film, She managed to carry the “woman with a tough, icy exterior but with internal pain and anguish” and brought that character to a sympathetic light. The film is very centered around Kunis’s character which occasionally, made it feel like she carried the film. However, despite all these, I do not think that this is a career-defining performance considering her previous work in Black Swan.
Another notable performance is from Chiara Aurelia , who played the young Ani. Although her earlier happier scenes is high school were not the best, she peaked and was very believable in the tougher scenes later on. Finn Wittrock too, made things work despite the limited scenes. The cast in general gave a good, reliable performance throughout.
The movie is worth a watch for the subject that it touches, as long as you don’t have extremely high expectations of it