Photo: ‘Luckiest Girl Alive’
Harrowing and Surreal Acting
Mila Kunis plays Ani Fanelli, a New Yorker who seemingly has a perfect life but is constantly plagued by a troubled past. Kunis portrays an ambitious yet seemingly detached woman who has adopted a persona that fits her newly forged life. Kunis does well to personify the aura of a high-powered woman in New York City. Her carefully crafted portrait of Fanelli exudes wealth and success as part of her ploy to create a new life. Moreover, she convincingly exhibits the triggers and anxiety that a person with trauma goes through and the repercussions in their everyday life. This is only Mila Kunis’ second drama in a few years, but it seems the famed actress has more range than she let on. The comedic actress delivers a commendable performance as the film’s leading lady.
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While it would have been interesting to see what Kunis could have done with the principal story arc of a teenage Ani Fanelli , it is Chiara Aurelia that audiences are introduced to as a younger Ani. At 20 years old, Aurelia has received HCA and Critics Choice Award nominations, and this latest performance shows why. What stands out is her harrowing and compelling acting during the agonizing experience her character went through. Her panic, pain, and humiliation resonates profoundly and delivers gut-wrenching scenes that will have you wanting to scream at your screen. Aurelia does an eerily outstanding job of encapsulating the painful and horrific experiences that led to Ani’s decision to reinvent herself. Kunis takes over to show the crippling effects of this decision as an adult. Both actresses collaborate effectively to deliver the short and long-term effects of trauma.
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Potent Mystery and Suspense
The intrigue begins only a few minutes into the movie and progressively builds up. As Ani lives her life, we see her experience chilling flashbacks and hallucinations. These flashbacks initially paint Ani in a disorienting way which flips the narrative upside down. We are presented with an unreliable character’s point of view and the truth simultaneously. This intrigue builds up to the climactic reveal of the past Ani must reckon with that is both tragic and life changing. While this movie was branded as a thriller, it resembles more of a drama mystery, with an emphasis on the mystery. Those looking for a film in this type of genre will not be disappointed. This film fits into its true genre very well and will keep you guessing.
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‘Luckiest Girl Alive’ – Useful Narration
Kunis narrates as Ani throughout the movie. In general, narration throughout a movie can be overused and harmfully unnecessary to a film. However, in this instance, it proved to be a helpful tool that supplemented flashbacks and hallucinations, as well as give us insight into her life and self-image. The narration also had a crucial role in foreshadowing throughout the movie. It served as a conduit between what happened in Ani’s past and her present. This was crucial for the story to flow without leaving unanswered questions and maintaining its coherence. The narration was a gamble on the director’s part, but it worked well with the film and served a valuable purpose. Aside from this, the narration occasionally served as comedic timing for jokes that were sudden and hilarious. Dramas that effectively employ comedic relief can produce memorable moments without jeopardizing the overall theme, and this film achieved this perfectly. While you won’t watch a movie like this for humor, a dash of it certainly never hurts.
An Important Message
The best movies leave you with a thought to chew on; a chance for introspection. This film leans on a couple of prominent issues in America as its foundation for a compelling narrative. Mila Kunis plays a cunning and forthright Ani Fanelli, who doesn’t allow herself even slightly to resemble her younger self. “A short fat girl.” Instead of coming to terms with her trauma and seeking help, she detaches from reality and crafts a whole new life hoping all her problems will disappear. She desperately attempts to hide her true self, but it is hopeless. The film did well to juxtapose sequences of Ani’s old life with her new one to accentuate how hard she tried to escape her past and the extent of her self-resentment. Her unwillingness to confront her trauma affected her personal relationships and jeopardized her career. Although many people may want to tack on a new persona and leave their past behind, it rarely works out that way. You can’t ever run from your past, you can only learn to accept it. For an audience looking for a new release with substance, ‘Luckiest Girl Alive’ is a must-watch this fall.
Whether you’re a fan of Mila Kunis from her time on ‘That 70’s Show’, a fan of this particular genre, or just browsing Netflix for new releases, ‘Luckiest Girl Alive’ is one to add to your watchlist. This is one of Netflix’s better releases recently and is a very important film in today’s world, filled with several prominent issues that the film revolves around. A cast of two extremely talented actresses from two generations come together to tell a story that’s just as relevant today as it was 20 years ago.
Cast: Mila Kunis, Chiara Aurelia, Finn Wittrock, Scott McNairy, Thomas Barbusca, Jennifer Beals, and Connie Britton
Director: Mike Barker
Producer(s): Mila Kunis, Bruna Papandrea, Jeanne Snow, Eric Feig, Lucy Kitada
Cinematography: Colin Watkinson | Editor: Nancy Richardson | Music: Linda Perry
By Alvaro Devora
Click here to read The Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s love letter to Cinema, TV and Media. An excerpt from the love letter: The Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, “We have the space and time for all your stories, no matter who/what/where you are. Media/Cinema/TV have a responsibility to better the world and The Hollywood Insider will continue to do so. Talent, diversity and authenticity matter in Cinema/TV, media and storytelling. In fact, I reckon that we should announce “talent-diversity-authenticity-storytelling-Cinema-Oscars-Academy-Awards” as synonyms of each other. We show respect to talent and stories regardless of their skin color, race, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality, etc., thus allowing authenticity into this system just by something as simple as accepting and showing respect to the human species’ factual diversity. We become greater just by respecting and appreciating talent in all its shapes, sizes, and forms. Award winners, which includes nominees, must be chosen on the greatness of their talent ALONE.
I am sure I am speaking for a multitude of Cinema lovers all over the world when I speak of the following sentiments that this medium of art has blessed me with. Cinema taught me about our world, at times in English and at times through the beautiful one-inch bar of subtitles. I learned from the stories in the global movies that we are all alike across all borders. Remember that one of the best symbols of many great civilizations and their prosperity has been the art they have left behind. This art can be in the form of paintings, sculptures, architecture, writings, inventions, etc. For our modern society, Cinema happens to be one of them. Cinema is more than just a form of entertainment, it is an integral part of society. I love the world uniting, be it for Cinema, TV, media, art, fashion, sport, etc. Please keep this going full speed.”
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Alvaro Devora is an aspiring writer/director whose life revolves around the creation and appreciation of literary and cinematic content. Though still new to the industry, Alvaro is also passionate about discussing important and substantial topics in Film and TV, and has found the perfect place to do so at The Hollywood Insider. Being an anti-gossip media network and taking pride in meaningful content, The Hollywood Insider is a company that Alvaro can take pride in writing for and continue nurturing his passion.