I had no prior knowledge of Netflix’s Luckiest Girl Alive other than the fact that it had lately gained notoriety. It’s classified as a Mystery/Drama, and the opening five minutes of the movie were horrifyingly foreboding. Was this the story of a prosperous lady who would eventually burst at the seams and go insane? Or was it more like American Psycho, where she has a secret life and kills shady men at night?
Luckiest Girl Alive on Netflix is more than it first appears to be.
My guesses were incorrect, but the movie does a great job of keeping you guessing, which is a credit to Jessica Knoll’s script, who also happens to be the author of the novel on which the movie is based. The focus of the film is Mila Kunis’ character Ani, also known as TifAni, a name that competes with the whiteness of names like Jazlyn, Bryanna, Kaylynn, or others with extra Ys and double consonants. Ani looks to have a great existence right away: her fiance is wealthy and accomplished since he was a lacrosse player in college, she writes for a renowned women’s magazine, and she doesn’t take crap from anyone. In essence, she embodies a strong, powerful lady.
It is also made evident that Ani is preoccupied with upholding a flawless persona, even going so far as to pretend to have an office to impress someone or devour pizzas in under ten seconds so that her fiancé is unaware of her need for carbohydrates. However, she has been hiding something deeper and worse for years that is revealed by this whole upkeep. Thanks to her inner monologue and brief glimpses of her imagination, such as the time she daydreamed about murdering her fiancé, the spectator occasionally gets a glance beyond the façade. The movie does a great job of keeping its cards close to its vest and gradually laying them on the table so that the spectator can see the greater picture.
The movie discreetly tests the spectator’s ability to pass judgement in addition to preserving its mysteries to keep the viewers interested. I was strongly opposed to what Ani was performing at the start of the film because she appeared completely insane. But when more of her tale emerged, I finally understood everything. It served as a sobering reminder that it is all too simple to judge someone without fully understanding their circumstances.
Because to Mila Kunis and Chiara Aurelia, who portrays the younger version of the role, I moved from being furious with Ani to sympathising with her. The success of the film depends on how well they play their roles. While Kunis must depict an adult Ani who has suffered horrible experiences but has chosen to disregard their repercussions, Aurelia has the equally difficult task of playing a young Ani who must experience these events. To the credit of the filmmakers, these incidents are handled without exploitation, but it doesn’t mean they weren’t upsetting.
A cautionary tale
Luckiest Girl Alive is more than just a mystery and a drama; it’s also a warning. Ani rebuilt herself as a reaction to her trauma because she believed that becoming untouchable would make her pain-free. Not at all. In actuality, despite the passage of time, it just made matters worse. She wasn’t able to liberate herself or even contribute to the liberation of others until she made the decision to confront it, even if at first she didn’t believe that.
Although it has flaws and a sluggish beginning, Luckiest Girl Alive is more than just a mystery being solved. It is a representation of something that abuse survivors all too well understand, and it also provides a complexity that other movies rarely show when they depict them.