Luckiest Girl Alive Review

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Luckiest Girl Alive Review
Luckiest Girl Alive
IMDB: LINK
Director(s): Mike Barker
Actor(s): Mila Kunis, Justine Lupe, Jennifer Beals
Film Genre(s): Drama , Mystery , Thriller
Running Time: 115 min
CGM Editors Choice

A lot of Mila Kunis’ recent projects have been on the lighter side. When I saw that she’d be diving back into her dramatic roots with Luckiest Girl Alive on Netflix, I was excited to check it out. The synopsis reads, “A woman in New York, who seems to have things under control, is faced with a trauma that makes her life unravel.” This film is so much more than that.

Based on the novel of the same name, Luckiest Girl Alive introduces us to Mila Kunis’ character Ani FaNelli (once known as Tiffany), a New York writer who seems to have it all. In the first few scenes we are let in on just one of her secrets, that she has built this character to fit in, to be liked. This includes constant exercise, hiding a love for food, having the best clothes, and even pretending she has a higher place at work. What we learn is that Ani came from very little, and built this life around her to protect herself from some horrific things that took place as a teen.

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Without spoiling all the details, Luckiest Girl Alive takes on some very serious subject matter, with trigger warnings for rape and gun violence. That sounds like a lot of heavy material to take in all at once, but I actually found that director Mike Barker (The Sandman, The Handmaid’s Tale) brings the drama to the screen in a more subdued way. Usually subjects like these are displayed in horrific ways to really push the trauma to the forefront and shock viewers.

Luckiest Girl Alive doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable scenes, but they also aren’t the primary focus. Instead, the message that the film really focuses on is trauma after the fact, and taking back your own power. We see the traumatic events to understand where Ani is coming from, and why she’s become the person she is, but the real message is in being true to yourself, facing your trauma and knowing your worth.

Luckiest Girl Alive explores some very difficult issues, and though it doesn’t shy away from them, it doesn’t shock for the sake of shocking either.”

Kunis (Bad Moms, Family guy) brings a fierceness to her character, one that you would expect from an upper-class New Yorker. As the movie goes on, you start to see her crack, but she still holds her composure. Aside from a few arguments with other characters, there aren’t a lot of ups and downs. She is fairly straight-faced, which is on purpose, to show the control she has developed to protect herself. She likens her pain to carbon monoxide, but that it only affects herself.

I think it’s an interesting look at trauma, because we get to see this incredibly strong woman who has gone through Hell live her life while hiding her pain. It isn’t until she confronts someone from her past noting “I’m a victim too”, where we finally see her beginning to realize she deserves better. Her mother (Connie Britton), friends, school, the system and now even her husband (Finn Wittrock) have let her down time and time again, and once that clicks, she is able to do what needs to be done to heal those old wounds.

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Something is to be said for the actor playing young Ani, Chiara Aurelia (Fear Street: Part Two – 1978). She had to film some truly painful scenes in Luckiest Girl Alive, and she was responsible for bringing the majority of the pain within the film to the screen. Ani’s trauma is in her past, and Aurelia had no problem showing us just how brutal that pain was. 

Luckiest Girl Alive explores some very difficult issues, and though it doesn’t shy away from them, it doesn’t shock for the sake of shocking either. Though there are some hard-to-watch scenes, they’re meaningful to the story, which really puts an emphasis on how important it is to face your pain, and heal. Luckiest Girl Alive might be a tough watch for some, but it’s a good one.

Final Thoughts

REVIEW SCORE

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