“Luckiest Girl Alive” is one of the craziest and most unexpected films of this year — but not in a good way. The film was marketed as a typical psychological thriller with an attractive woman as its lead, but viewers would never guess the gory twists and turns at its core. It’s the kind of movie that you desperately want to turn off because it is so uncomfortable, but you stick through it just to see how messed up it can get. While it is not a great film, it is one that will leave a lasting impact.
The film follows TifAni “Ani” FaNelli (Mila Kunis), a beautiful, educated and successful woman who is engaged to handsome and affluent Luke (Finn Wittrock) in her seemingly perfect life. Ani has a harsh internal monologue, constantly critiquing herself and others around her. The film jumps back and forth between the current seemingly perfect Ani and her high school self (Chiara Aurelia), who doesn’t really fit in and is on a scholarship at an elite private school. It becomes clear that she endured traumatic events in her teenage years and the wounds are still fresh. When she is approached by a documentarian hoping to talk about a mysterious event from her past and “finally” tell her side of the story, she declines multiple times until she caves, opening old wounds and a flood of flashbacks. One minute she is in a jewelry store with her fiance, and the next she is holding a bloody knife. As the film unpacks what truly happened all those years ago, the viewer is taken on a path of crazy twists and turns with a disappointing ending.
When the events of Ani’s past are finally revealed, the film deals with it so clumsily that it feels almost irresponsible. The two events that Ani experienced are so traumatic that, as a viewer, it is difficult to watch. They are so unreasonably graphic that they can be triggering for anyone who has experienced anything remotely similar. It is astounding that there isn’t a trigger warning at the beginning of this film, though there are campaigns for Netflix to add one.
While “Luckiest Girl Alive” is a disturbing film, Kunis does her best with the material and successfully portrays a woman trying to hide her past. Kunis appears so perfect and put together that it’s hard to like her at first. There is nothing redeeming about Ani until her past is revealed, which then makes the viewer feel guilty for their initial dislike. Kunis effectively portrays a girlboss who is deeply disturbed and traumatized on the inside. You’re able to see all of the hidden emotion behind Kunis’s eyes as Chiara Aurelia expertly portrays the younger version of Ani.
No other aspect of the film is interesting or relevant. Ani’s fiance Luke is a boring, self-centered man who has never experienced any imperfections in his life. Ani’s mother (Connie Britton) is a middle-aged woman trying desperately to fit in with Luke’s family without much success. There is simply not much else to note besides trauma and Kunis’s acting chops.
It is a shame that the film is marketed as a regular thriller that a group of women might enjoy on a Saturday night with popcorn and a glass of wine. Instead, it makes you want to hide underneath a blanket and call your therapist, if you’re even able to make it to the end of the film. If the movie had more nuance and sensitivity given its heavy subject matter, perhaps this could have been a better film.
Rebecca Carcieri is an arts & culture editor. She is a senior from Warwick, Rhode Island studying political science.