Movie Review: Luckiest Girl Alive
Based on the bestselling novel of the same name by author turned screenwriter, Jessica Knoll, comes Luckiest Girl Alive, a provocative and vivid character study and mystery drama about a New York features writer who is forced to confront the demons and traumas of her old life. While Ani seems to have the superficial aspects of her life under control, she’s faced with a childhood trauma that begins to unravel her new identity and seemingly perfect lifestyle.
Starring Mila Kunis, the actor commits another full-fledged dramatic performance to screen without breaking stride after a successful outing in Four Good Days. While difficult to like a self-serving ladder-climber, the character’s complexity and duality compel the story as her inner monologue and seemingly perfect life and career clash. Ambitious, strategic and seething, Kunis harnesses the intensity to deliver a calm-like-a-bomb performance as everything comes crashing down. Ably supported by Chiara Aurelia as a younger Ani, their likeness works well enough to present the character at the height of her trauma.
Struggling to come to terms with her involvement in a school shooting, past traumas breach the surface as she is coerced to vindicate herself as part of a crime documentary. Deliberately cold-blooded, there is a slight disconnect when it comes to empathy for the lead, whose disposition becomes more justified as her dark repressed memories unfurl. What is curious is the transition from the trappings of her glossy new adult life to the muddy freedom associated with seeking retribution and dealing with the truth. Following in the wake of the #MeToo movement, Luckiest Girl Alive may overreach at times but still packs a powerful message about confronting repressed horrors and destroying strongholds.
“Maybe she’s born with it? Nah.”
Luckiest Girl Alive is a bold and unflinching chronicle from director Mike Barker, which is naturally edgy by virtue of its timely intersection between sexual violence and school shootings. Effectively blending The Devil Wears Prada and American Psycho, the cool distance of the take-no-prisoners approach is refreshing even if somewhat alienating.
Thriving on a solid lead performance, edgy subject matter, a seesawing character and highflying lifestyles, Luckiest Girl Alive is more fascinating than satisfying. While aloof and obscured by its narrative device, its seething lead, unsettling atmosphere and timely themes compel this edgy character portrait.
The bottom line: Provocative