Luckiest Girl Alive is based on the novel of the same name by Jessica Knoll. Starring Mila Kunis and Chiara Aurelia as the younger version of Mila’s female protagonist. This is the story of Ani Fanelli, a high-flying New York journalist who ticked off all the ‘boxes.’ A great husband-to-be, possibly a wonderful career move, and ‘the edge.’ Ani’s dark past hampers her ability to be truly ‘happy’ in today’s time. The flashbacks and surrealistic touches for her present-day moments are enough to let the audience know that all is not well in Ani’s world, despite what she pretends.
The feature delves into two very dark themes (sexual assault and school shooting), it’s Chiara Aurelia’s vulnerability that stands out. It starkly contrasts Kunis’ seemingly cold exterior as the story moves into flashbacks and current conflicts. In one particular scene, she breaks down talking about her past experiences — which perhaps is one of the ‘real-est’ and the most authentic moments of the entire film.
The story is based on Knoll’s life events (as she divulged to Vanity Fair). The film relies far too much on Kunis but not where it matters. It showcases Ani as shallow in the beginning and far too self-aware at the end, which looks like a copout.
She seems shallow and disconnected compared to what perhaps the writer originally wanted to showcase: a victim coming to terms with how she survived it all. The pace and movement of the film are gripping enough, but because of these pitfalls, it doesn’t seem to do justice to what it was trying to say.
Much of the film capitalizes on confession and cancel culture in a post-#MeToo world. It doesn’t have the kinda substance or food for thought or intelligence that will open a philosophical debate — but it’s mostly about revenge and closure and self-awareness. Some of the sociological themes it does examine well is the abuse of privilege and status which often becomes another layer of trauma for assault victims.
Kunis is mostly deadpan, but Aurelia and Britton (who plays Ani’s mom) stand out in their performances. It only scratches the surface of the issues it discusses, with angry actions serving as satisfying moments for a protagonist.
Despite being given a strong central place, Kunis is not used well enough because of the one-toned path charted for Ani. What could have been a much grittier, more powerful thriller became a predictable wokefest with performative victories that aren’t what assault stories are truly about. The film is now streaming on Netflix. Watch with caution if you are an abuse survivor.
Watch the trailer of the film here: