To turn into the “Luckiest Woman Alive,” a title this dramedy shellacs with sarcasm, a self-loathing journal author named Ani (Mila Kunis) has achieved a trifecta of standing symbols: a prestigious training (acquired by way of scholarships), a slim physique (acquired by way of an consuming dysfunction), and a complicated fiancé (acquired by way of emotional suppression). Marriage to blue-blooded Luke Harrison IV (Finn Wittrock) will cement her transformation from teenage pushover TifAni FaNelli (performed in flashbacks by Chiara Aurelia) to her intimidating new id as Ani Harrison — that’s, if she will be able to restrain herself from fantasizing about stabbing her husband-to-be within the neck.
“Snap out of it, psycho,” Ani growls within the first of many harsh monologues that run the size of the movie. Her fanged narration units us up for a makeover film in reverse the place a carb-fearing perfectionist permits herself to get pleasure from pizza. Partly, it’s that film. However readers of Jessica Knoll’s novel of the identical title, which she right here adapts for the display, know that Ani is reeling from a highschool gang rape compounded by a mass capturing. These intertwined tragedies rebranded considered one of Ani’s abusers, performed as a scholar by Carson MacCormac and in maturity by Alex Barone, right into a grandstanding public moralist. On the similar time, her personal labels make her itch: survivor, sufferer, villain, hero, slut. Ani wears success like a bulletproof vest, till run-ins along with her mom (Connie Britton), her former trainer (Scoot McNairy) and a documentarian (Dalmar Abuzeid) power her to re-examine her facade.
Kunis’s alpha feminine seems directly ferocious and like a conspicuous sham. (Think about Sheryl Sandberg as a “Scooby-Doo” villain.) Her efficiency carries the movie — a lucky break for the director Mike Barker, who has the near-impossible problem of shepherding the tone from snark to painful sincerity. Too typically, Barker resorts to capturing pat scenes of Kunis looking at herself in a mirror. But, he and the cinematographer Colin Watkinson additionally seize Ani’s callous gaze in glimpses, say when a crumb on the nook of Abuzeid’s lip symbolizes her suspicion that she will be able to’t belief this klutz as her mouthpiece.
It’s initially baffling that Knoll pointedly units the movie in 2015, the yr her e book was printed. (What for? A one-liner about Hillary Clinton successful the presidency?) Nonetheless, Knoll took one other yr to talk overtly about how Ani’s trauma overlaps along with her personal, and right now, her script serves as a reminder of that latest historical past proper earlier than #MeToo, when power handed for therapeutic and misogyny hid behind a smile that sneered, Can’t you’re taking a joke?
“Sure,” Ani may counter — and he or she’s absorbed so many punch strains that, just like the tradition at giant, she’s poised to blow up.
Luckiest Woman Alive
Rated R for sexual violence and language. Working time: 1 hour 53 minutes. Watch on Netflix.