This was a week of trauma-watching. Let me tell you, that’s not an easy time. My week started with the musical Jagged Little Pill. Then hanging at The Kelly Clarkson Show to watch Mila Kunis (Bad Moms) talk about her new Netflix film Luckiest Girl Alive which I knew nothing about.
TRIGGER WARNING – SEXUAL ASSAULT & SCHOOL SHOOTING
In the new film Luckiest Girl Alive Mila Kunis plays Ani “Tiffani” FaNelli a top editor at a glossy magazine in New York City. She has a perfect life, is engaged to a blue-blood man, and working her dream job. However, an assault from her past haunts her every day and threatens to destroy everything she’s built.
As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani was raped at a party by multiple people. No one supported her, her own mother blamed her, and so the only people she had left were other outcasts. These two young men, who are also tortured by the rapists in their own way, take revenge into their own hands. Here is where we get the next layer of trauma. The boys come to the school with guns leaving Ani’s boyfriend paralyzed and his fellow rapists dead.
LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE FALTERS
Jessica Knoll, who wrote the book, used her own assault story for Ani. So, I can understand why she wouldn’t want anyone else to tell this story. However, I feel she should have had someone else help her. The film plays out like a book and struggles to find the balance it’s looking for. The story is important and should be heavy hitting, but the inner monologue dialogue enters casual comedy that feels more like Grown-ish or The Bold Type – “Snap out of it, psycho”.
Ani seems to be triggered by anything and everything in her daily life. So, in order to help tell the story, the film frantically uses flashbacks to shift between Ani’s current reality and her traumatic past. I don’t mind a flashback to tell the story of what’s going on, but I would have preferred one long chuck vs choppy. Spreading it out the way the film does makes the pace halt. The film is already 2 hours long and this doesn’t help.
Mila Kunis does a fantastic job of balancing self-hatred, depression, and power. I’ve never seen this side of her as an actress and I’d love to see more of it. Playing her younger self is Chiara Aurelia (Cruel Summer) who is no stranger to the dark side of television. However, the things she has to portray are not easy and your heart breaks for her the whole way through.
Overall I found Luckiest Girl Alive to be an important story that is executed rather poorly. I hope that someone finds hope and strength to share their story and whether you identify as a victim or survivor your story matters.