You didn’t watch “Luckiest Girl Alive” properly if you don’t feel just as furious as Ani afterward.
An approximate level of honesty “doesn’t make the cut,” a character in Luckiest Girl Alive tells Mila Kunis’ Ani at one point. It is real. Sometimes telling your tale in a forceful way is the only way to make your point. The Netflix film takes this assertion and runs with it the entire time, surprising you with inventive choices at every turn. Although the choices made aren’t always enjoyable to witness, this film’s ruthless determination to reach its destination is one of its best aspects.
The narrative of a magazine journalist who aspires to reach the top ranks of the literary industry is told in Luckiest Girl Alive, which is based on a New York Times best-selling novel by novelist Jessica Knoll (who also wrote the script). But the more her personal life becomes problematic, the more she concentrates on her relentless race to the top: Ani (Kunis) is the individual who potential viewers are most interested in hearing speak out in a documentary being filmed about a tragic occurrence in her past.
Ani is established as an unreliable narrator in Luckiest Girl Alive, which is the first and most intriguing decision. Ani’s voiceover frequently contradicts a lot of what she does and says onscreen, in addition to being clearly mentioned in a flashback by one of her teachers. This choice establishes for us viewers a whole notion that you can’t really trust this protagonist, and that conviction is the foundation of the movie’s conclusion.
The treatment of Ani’s terrible background is taken with a grain of salt once you start to question the narrator’s reliability, and it’s not until the story begins to take shape that you realise how crucial it is to believe in the book’s main character, whether you want to or not. Naturally, this adds a fascinating wrinkle to the plot, but more importantly, it amplifies the movie’s main point. It suffices to state that the movie’s flashbacks turn everything you believe you know about the character on its head without going into any spoilers. For good (and bitter) measure, we get a tiny taste of what it’s like to be in her shoes.
Then it becomes ominous. Sadly, Luckiest Girl Alive isn’t all that different from true stories, since it’s not too unbelievable to imagine how eager communities can be to accept a girl or woman’s “poor” reputation in the modern world. And other women are frequently required to create full picture-perfect lifestyles before people will even consider listening to their voices in order to shift the scales a tiny bit in their favor. Men, on the other hand, are given the benefit of the doubt, are given justifications on a silver platter, and their entire existence is seen as nuanced. You cannot, however, blame a man for making a single mistake since he is much more than that.
Which prompts Luckiest Girl Alive to make yet another wise choice. By portraying its worst character as an obvious victim, the movie toys with our ideas of innocence and forgiving others. And while once we realise their acts, it’s fairly simple to see how much of that label applies, the same cannot be true for real life. When Ani says fiercely in a powerful scene that she is a victim, too, the line hits hard because we lose that nuance far too frequently. We’re so quick to smack males on the wrist.
However, the story’s principal actor is necessary for every nuance to exist. The hypnotic nature of Mila Kunis’ performance keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. You never know what she’s going to do or say, but once the narrative starts to come together and the fundamentals of her behaviour become evident, you can completely relate to and understand the character. You didn’t see Luckiest Girl Alive correctly if you don’t feel just as furious as Ani after finishing it.
Chiara Aurelia’s performance, which portrayed Ani in her earlier years, cannot be disregarded either. The young performer takes on a very challenging part. Her character becomes increasingly silent as the film goes on, to the point that you have to be able to look through her face to comprehend what’s going through her thoughts or how disconnected she has gone from the world. There is neither resolution nor restitution in her narrative. In most scenes, Aurelia does an excellent job without speaking a word.
The brutality of Mike Barker’s films is appropriate. In the end, the film is a string of stomach punches, the majority of which you never see coming. Barker yet forces us to see it, and it doesn’t come off as arbitrary or simply shocking. The message that Luckiest Girl Alive conveys is so important that it begs to be repeated. Even though the film occasionally goes a bit too far in exposing Ani’s mental state—with Kunis and Aurelia’s performances, we would most definitely not need any exposition—it serves as a reminder that we must continue to talk about how we treat and view women.
Simply said, one of the best movies of the year is Luckiest Girl Alive. It has Mila Kunis’ strongest performance of her career and isn’t hesitant to add salt to two enormous wounds that need to be taken seriously if we want them to ever heal. Because it doesn’t care about characters who are either perfect or flawed, from its protagonist to the supporting cast, it surprises and impresses from a narrative aspect. Sometimes because it enhances the plot, and other times because that’s just how life is.