Ani FaNelli (Mila Kunis) lives an opulent, regimented and, a few human beings may consider, enviable existence. The protagonist of Netflix’s Luckiest Girl Alive writes for a smooth ladies’s magazine, is engaged to a poster boy for summers in Nantucket and wears clothier garments tailor-made to her svelte shape. She has discerning taste, a pointy persona and a caustic tongue.
When we meet Ani, purchasing at Williams-Sonoma together along with her fiancé, Luke Harrison IV (Finn Wittrock), the contours of her meticulously curated life are evident. But so is the irritating electricity percolating underneath it. The wide-eyed brunette wrestles with reminiscences of a worrying excessive-faculty experience, marked with the aid of using gun violence and sexual attack.
Adapted from Jessica Knoll’s best-promoting novel of the equal name, Luckiest Girl Alive struggles to stability its twin aspirations: turning in an emotionally wrought story approximately survival, and wrapping its gravity withinside the cheeky breeziness of publishing comedies like Freeform’s The Bold Type. These commitments don’t must be oppositional, however Luckiest Girl Alive doesn’t safely justify their union. The end result is a distant, atonal movie that feels extra slippery than evocative. Part of the blame rests at the inherent demanding situations of translating first-man or woman narratives to the screen. Even if different films, like Gone Girl (to which Luckiest Girl Alive has been compared), have controlled extra effectively, it’s hard to seize that stage of interiority and intimacy in visible terms.
The movie, directed with the aid of using Mike Barker (The Handmaid’s Tale) with a screenplay with the aid of using Knoll, appears to trudge thru Ani’s unraveling, that is precipitated with the aid of using an inquiring documentary filmmaker (Dalmar Abuzeid) decided to discover the actual backstory at the back of the taking pictures at her prestigious non-public excessive faculty. He desires to provide Ani a danger to clean her name, to counter the pervading narrative that has recast her as an partner as opposed to a victim. Beset with the aid of using his insistence on an interview, Ani reveals herself in a hard position: guard the existence she struggled to build, or talk the fact approximately her experience.
Considering how frequently society betrays survivors, Ani’s reluctance to situation herself to public scrutiny is understandable; Luckiest Girl Alive’s narrative aligns with the awful nation of affairs. The movie takes area years earlier than the arrival of #MeToo, and its launch this Friday more or less marks 5 years for the reason that movement’s apex. It’s tough now no longer to consider the current excessive-profile instances of ladies talking up approximately harassment, attack and abuse on the fingers of effective guys whilst it’s discovered that Ani’s demon comes withinside the shape of Dean Barton (Alex Barone), a congressional hopeful who to start with advised Ani’s involvement withinside the taking pictures. In the years for the reason that tragedy, Dean, now a paraplegic due to sustained injuries, has come to be a fierce advise for gun manipulate and a sympathetic public figure.
Luckiest Girl Alive spends a large amount of time on Ani’s indecision, which is going past whether or not to take part withinside the documentary. Luke, who works in finance, turned into these days promoted to guide his company’s European office, because of this that Ani may must pass to London after the wedding. Meanwhile, Ani’s boss (Jennifer Beals) wishes her protégée to — due to a few indistinct contractual agreement — pass together along with her to The New York Times Magazine as a senior editor. The many choices — to do the document or now no longer, to curtail her profession or now no longer — overwhelm the narrative, which quickly begins offevolved to experience love it really has an excessive amount of going on.
The movie chaotically shifts among Ani’s mounting present-day pressures and her worrying past. These flashbacks are activated with the aid of using regular routines: Testing knives together along with her fiancé brings forth reminiscences of wielding the culinary device for protection; looking the rhythmic pounding of soles on a treadmill reminds her of the imminent footsteps of her faculty shooter. Initially, Ani’s reminiscences are quick flashes, however as Luckiest Girl Alive receives toward its finale, it spends extra time withinside the past. Through those sequences, the demanding situations a younger Ani (Chiara Aurelia) confronted as a working-elegance pupil at a tony prep faculty come to be clearer. Aurelia supplies an excellent and assured flip in a movie of in any other case simply good enough performances. She performs a extra soft model of Ani, however invests her with an understated severity that telegraphs and contextualizes the destiny Ani’s impenetrability.
Luckiest Girl Alive takes its time to attract a end maximum visitors could have guessed with the aid of using the midway point. The almost -hour runtime invitations a sleepiness that the movie struggles to shake. Whether it’s from a scarcity withinside the fabric or direction, Kunis’ portrayal feels fractured and incomplete lengthy after the portions of the man or woman ought to have began out clicking into area. By the time Ani makes a decision what to do approximately the documentary (and her existence), it’s tough now no longer to experience like we ought to recognise her at the least a touch bit better.