Ani Fanelli, a senior editor at the magazine for men’s enjoyment The Women’s Bible, is 28 years old. She is going to accept the senior editor post at the New York Times Magazine, resides in New York City, and is preparing for a lavish wedding. She claims that “becoming someone people can respect” is “this close” to happening. The gender wage gap and women’s issues in Afghanistan are important news topics, but men’s pleasure is equally important because it sells. Her fiancé calling her “babe” is not meant to be hurtful, and his making her feel safe is a good enough reason for him to call her that.
Her life appears to be ideal as if nothing has ever happened to her. She may be trying her hardest to bury her history, but no matter how hard she tries, it keeps returning to the surface. Examples are when she holds back while speaking, wolfs down two pizza pieces, or moves something big inside her when she wields a knife.
WHY DOES ANI DECIDE TO FACE DEAN AT LAST?
Luckiest Girl Alive, based on Jessica Knoll’s 2015 book of the same name, which was also a New York Times bestseller, amplifies a lot of what is typically unspoken about, including bullying, gun violence in American schools, sexual assault, rape, the stigma surrounding victimhood, and the prejudice and humiliation that low-income people experience. And it all unfolds against a backdrop of Ivy League universities. Through her razor-sharp screenplay, Knoll deftly explores the vast grey and the myriad questions surrounding rape, such as whether it even counts as rape if it occurs while you are intoxicated if you don’t remember saying no if the perpetrator is more than just a friend if you don’t report/avenge/take action to stop it from happening again, or if you don’t identify as a survivor.
Carefully and subtly, Mila Kunis transforms Ani into her own, causing you to recoil, struggle for air, and smile slyly in response. She relishes the character, which is among the meatiest to come to her in a long time, and she digs her teeth into it. Chiara Aurelia, who plays the young Ani, masterfully reveals the depths of juvenile weaknesses and fears that the older Ani has fought hard to conceal in Kunis.
Together, they utilize the story to reveal the pernicious anguish associated with abuse and humiliation. Beware of the part where the young Ani apologizes to her lover and shares that she believes she was raped. Despite the fact that he gang-raped her together with two other buddies, he acts as though she is crazy for using such strong language, that she doesn’t even understand what the term means, and how dare she accuse him. She asks for forgiveness right away, as if she were the one who did something wrong. One of the most upsetting yet revealing sequences in the movie is this one. Although the individuals, circumstances, degree, and context may be different, haven’t we all been in this scenario and experienced it, sometimes repeatedly?
The movie exhorts viewers to recognize denial for what it is soft, nuanced ways in which it manifests—and to liberate themselves from it. The movie Luckiest Girl Alive, which was directed by Mike Barker, also wants us to realize that abuse also includes making someone feel humiliated. The people who love you, who failed you so badly, stop trying to shield them with this nebulous half-assery, says Jennifer Beals’ character Lolo Vincent, who plays Ani’s employer in the movie. An approximate level of honesty is unacceptable.
Luckiest Girl Alive feels hurried for a thriller based on a lengthy book with a lot to say in its under two-hour running time. It is an accurate adaption of coming of age, which occurs for Ani at the age of 28. It can take this long on occasion. Occasionally even longer. And in certain circumstances, a lifetime. A movie that deals with subjects as gritty and harrowing as juvenile trauma, violence, and abuse typically causes you to pause and reflect. The unsettling William Faulkner adage, “The past is never dead,” is something that Luckiest Girl Alive does as well as doing more. Not even passed yet.
Below is the trailer of Luckiest Girl Alive: