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Thursday, May 23, 2024
The Observer

‘Luckiest Girl Alive’: Netflix’s mysterious triumph

Editor's note: This article contains discussions of gun violence and sexual assault.

This article also includes spoilers for “Luckiest Girl Alive”

“Luckiest Girl Alive” was released on Netflix on Oct. 7, 2022. The mystery/drama follows a New York journalist who has never publicly spoken out about the school shooting that happened at her high school. The narrative switches between the present and her experience in high school. The flashbacks help viewers understand her negative experience while connecting it to her present life.

Ani (Mila Kunis) is a successful journalist aspiring to work for the “New York Times Magazine.” Ani is living the perfect life, or
so it seems. Ani evolves throughout the movie when she is forced to confront the past. The facade of her dark past is seen through imagined scenes that show Ani’s disturbed state of mind. These recurring scenes make the accusation of Ani’s involvement in the school shooting seem plausible. Contrary to what I thought by the end of the movie, Ani was more than a hidden woman with disturbing thoughts.

She is fleshed out through the flashbacks, which show the suffering she faced at an early age. The broach of the suffering that was faced is what makes this film a triumph. It captures the mystery of the story.
The way the mystery unfolds entices viewers to see how it unravels. A true crime documentary is investigating the school shooting. The filmmaker is persistent on Ani being in the film considering her
former classmate Dean’s (Alex Barone) accusations that Ani helped the perpetrator in the shooting. Dean is now a gun-control advocate and is being interviewed in the documentary. Ani decides to do the documentary but requests that she is not obligated to see Dean. Ani endured traumatic experiences being a scholarship student at a private school.

She attends a party where she is sexually assaulted by three of her classmates. The heartbreak over her experience is worsened when she goes to the eventual school shooter, Arthur (Thomas Barbusca), and tells him about the assault. The two disagree over her decision not to do anything. Ani, considering her trauma, even apologizes to Liam (Isaac Kragten), one of the boys who assaulted her. Ani is unable to do anything because of her relationship with her mom (Connie Britton). The relationship between them is estranged in the present. The two have a conversation where the mom defends her actions and says that she put Ani in the position to meet a rich fiancé like Luke (Finn Witrock).

Ani’s relationship with Luke throughout the movie shows her
aspiration for perfection. The two eat together at a restaurant where Ani barely touches her food. Once Luke disappears, she eats the two slices of pizza, not wanting Luke to see her being a ‘pig.’ She fakes a spill to justify the pizza being gone and he tells her how proud she is that she ate carbs. Ani’s dreams of someday working for The New York Times Magazine are diminished by Luke, who thinks she
should get a Master of Fine Arts to author a book. He wants them to move to England, but Ani wants to stay in New York. This disagreement is less severe compared to others.

Ani quits the documentary after encountering Dean and decides to write an article exposing what happened to her. When Luke
finds out, he asks questions about her motive and draws attention to Dean’s suffering of being paralyzed.

Ani decides to stay in New York and not marry Luke. Ani does feel bad for hurting him. However, the relationship that is emphasized is Ani’s friendship with Nell (Justine Lupe). The scenes in this movie combined produce more than an intriguing mystery movie.

“Luckiest Girl Alive” shows the long-term impact of traumatic experiences. Ani’s character arc is fleshed out and the characters are what make us remember the movie.

Title: “Luckiest Girl Alive”

Starring: Mila Kunis, Chiara Aurelia, Finn Witrock

Director:Mike Barker

If you like: “Silenced”

Shamrocks:4 out of 5

Contact Rose Androwich at