Based on Jessica Knoll’s best-selling 2015 debut novel of the same name, new Netflix original movie Luckiest Girl Alive hit the streaming platform today (October 7, 2022). Mila Kunis stars in the lead role of Ani Fanelli, a woman who seems to have her life in perfect order, but who audiences quickly learn has some traumatizing history that is threatening to resurface after years of being buried.
Not the thriller those new to this story would expect
The first few moments of Luckiest Girl Alive suggest that Ani is a woman who has some deep-rooted urges to violently attack and potentially even murder those around her. We quickly learn that she was one of the surviving students in a high school shooting, but it is only around a third of the way into the film that we discover the exact truth of her younger years. While this switch up is done well and will genuinely shock audiences unfamiliar with this story, using it as a big reveal does feel a little uncomfortable and almost exploitative.
Fortunately, Kunis’ performance is enough to keep anybody watching. Opposite her doting fiancé played by Finn Wittrock, she is able to convey a vast range of emotions, from anger and upset, to hurt and betrayal. Her take on the character is utterly believable, which is vital in a movie of this kind, as the audience needs to want to root for Ani. That’s something Chiara Aurelia is also great at in playing the younger Ani in the film’s multiple flashbacks. She is certainly going to be one to watch as her star continues to rise.
While Luckiest Girl Alive does feel original at times, there isn’t enough meat around the bones for it to be a film that people are going to be talking about for years to come. At its heart, it wants to be a movie that allows its female character to speak her truth, but in a rushed attempt to wrap things up, she is let down by not being given enough room to breathe. Still, the ending is one that should make you smile.
At times, Luckiest Girl Alive feels like a big swing and partial miss. Though the cast is packed full of incredible talent, they are let down at times by the use of sensitive issues as shock tactics. The portrayal of middle to upper class USA, however, is a huge win, and the film has a satisfying enough conclusion.