Luckiest Girl Alive (2022) Movie Review – Mila Kunis’ stellar show in this mismanaged drama

Mila Kunis’ stellar show in this mismanaged drama

We have seen on so many occasions how good potential can be wasted too easily. Not every story in the world has it. But it does not take a lot of things going wrong for those that do.

Luckiest Girl Alive perhaps falls in the latter category. An impressive cast, a serious subject, and the burgeoning popular narrative tool of the voice-over – all signs were good. Inadvertently, though, the makers spoil the chance to split their film from the crowd that now stands in the cue for acceptance. And the sad fact is that everything happens due to the very nature of the plot.

Luckiest Girl Alive has all the trappings of an intriguing story with palpable tension and suspense. But that is offset ironically because of the big reveal.

Movies set in high school and exploring teen sensibilities in a modern context are growing. Netflix has a catalogue of its own. It is quite diverse and voluminous, although the quality is certainly not consistent. But there is greater acceptance from viewers about these stories, as they embrace the dark truths of their communities and culture.

Luckiest Girl Alive uses the setting as the prime driver to fuel the protagonist Ani’s (Kunis) urges to sort out her life. There is almost a deception in the first half when we are led to think that Ani is this perfect, uber-cool girl with a life and body men and girls can only dream of.

The narrative certainly seems to be headed in another direction. But when the flashbacks start and Dean’s name is mentioned in the film, it pivots and becomes a movie squarely about how Ani hasn’t been able to move on and that her offenders have gone scot-free. Well, two of them are dead and the third is in a wheelchair, but her beef is with people dismissing her claims and believing someone above her in social status and with better connections.

The tonal shift feels jarring and probably a bit unfair as a viewer considering how the film actually finishes. But in hindsight, it is indeed a bold decision.

If you went into it blind, not knowing that something like this will happen, then the above might be true. After that point, Ani definitely loses control and grip over the narration. Her past takes over and the peek into it is quite raw. The way director Mike Barker uses flashbacks and the past is very admirable.

The visceral energy you get off it successfully makes you uncomfortable and compassionate about Ani’s life. We see the imperfect girl behind this successful boss figure. That is indeed a nice touch. Ani losing control wouldn’t have been the worst thing if the film managed to keep up the intrigue. The third act completely spoils the experience of watching it.

The finish with Dean and the emotional speech to Luke somehow feels hollow and misplaced. Although we are shown how Ani has struggled with the smear in her life in small patches, we aren’t shown the background. The lack of development in that part of the story, which is quite crucial to draw the viewer in, is missing. This perhaps leads to a softer emotional chord between us and her. But Kunis herself does a remarkable job of shoring that up.

Mila Kunis holds your gaze like glue, to be very honest. Her astute interpretation of Ani hits the right spot – a grey area where she is still figuring out who she is. Seeing “Luckiest Girl Alive’ as a coming-of-age drama helps give you a better perspective. Kunis pretends as someone who is all right on the surface but is being eaten up inside.

We do see her vulnerability and emotions get the better of her in some moments but it is the former that is truly inspired. The characterizations of other important contemporary themes like gun violence and school shootings, and the raging increase of trust-fund kids in private schools are certainly decent but fail to be anything that stands out.

Watching the film is a mixed bag. While the first part of the film is well-built and makes you want to watch more, the story kind of falls flat and crumbles on the expectations of the first half in the second. Its accuracy and courage in depicting the many facets of the trauma of rape and more importantly, the overwhelming desire to bury it because this crime committed against you has ultimately turned you into a crime yourself.

Kunis gives a resounding leading performance but Luckiest Girl Alive’s biggest strength also proves to be its biggest weakness. It is an important film but could have been made a bit differently.

 

Read More: Luckiest Girl Alive Ending Explained


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  • Verdict - 6.5/10
    6.5/10
6.5/10

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