If Mila Kunis doesn’t confront her past, she won’t have a future.
Mila Kunis plays Ani FaNelli, a successful magazine editor in New York, who’s poised to getting the job of her dreams and marrying Luke Harrison (Finn Wittrock)-the man of her dreams. All seems well, all seems fine, but actually, this girl has a dark past. Is she a victim or villain?
That’s the set-up to the made-for-Netflix version of Jessica Knoll’s book “Luckiest Girl Alive,” which levitates because of how Kunis shows her character’s unhappiness, and how director Mike Barker (“To Kill a King”) presents the past and present. You have to know your past in order to know your future, or fix it.
Ani is asked to be interviewed by filmmaker Aaron Wickersham (Dalmar Abuzeid) about the events of a school shooting, which left one man by the name of Dean Barton (Alex Barone) paralyzed, and her being labeled an accomplice. Did she have something to do with that shooting or did something else happen to her that left her too weak and angry to talk about?
It’s impossible for me to feel women’s pain of what they sometimes go through in life (and rape is involved unfortunately), but I do acknowledge that they can either be strong or weak in confronting their pathos. It’s easy to know that Kunis is going to be angry in various parts of the movie, even if parts are predictable, and it doesn’t linger on the emotions.
Her mother (Connie Britton) is so cold-hearted that she blames her own daughter for what happens to her. It’s impossible to see anything empathetic in this woman, especially during the present when she helps prepare for Ani’s wedding.
Besides Kunis, Chiara Aurelia also does some good work portraying the teenage Ani, who shows the audience her side of the story. And Thomas Barbusca is likable as her friend Arthur. There are scenes of rape and gun violence, which can be unsettling, especially by any standards.
“Luckiest Girl Alive,” also featuring Jennifer Beals and Scoot McNairy in supporting roles, is a little overwhelming in certain areas (the blaming and rape segments), but it represents its own anger and fears, based on how people can thrive in society or how society treats people. It all depends on what the issue is, and who is at fault. And I haven’t read the book, so I was interested in seeing what the truth is.
People who’ve read the book would probably say to me they’ve read it and aren’t completely surprised by the screenplay, which was done by Knoll herself. But they will see this movie version because they’ve enjoyed the book and they enjoy Kunis in her movies and shows. Bother she and Aurelia convince us of the narrator’s nature and turmoil, about how one thing leads to another. And believe me, this is a bad chain of reactions.
When we see the accusations before we get to the past, we’re curious. When we get to the past, it tiptoes in revealing the truth. And when we get to the truth, we’re disgusted. It’s all directed with patience by Barker, and presented with emotions by Knoll. This will definitely have Netflix streamers glued to their screens.
Streaming on Netflix