OTT Review: Luckiest Girl Alive

Going OTT with reels



by

Sushmita Bose

Published: Thu 13 Oct 2022, 10:03 PM

Luckiest Girl Alive, based on Jessica Knoll’s 2015 novel of the same name, was bandied as one of the big-ticket releases on Netflix this year. One reason was, of course, the #MeToo movement: this one is predicated right in its groove, though it takes a while to unfold. The fact that it takes a while to unfold was another feather in its promotional cap: Luckiest Girl Alive sets out to be some sort of a ‘psychological’ thriller, along the lines of Gone Girl, and you rub your hands in glee thinking this is going to be some twisted femme drama. In a way, you are kind of taken down the garden path before the real thing hits you. (The third reason why it was bandied around as a big-ticket release is that it is the delectable Mila Kunis’ Netflix debut — but maybe that would be stretching a point.)

Ani (Kunis) is sharp as a tack, and seems to be at the right place at the right time. She’s living the life most women can only dream of. A perfect socio-economic setting. Engaged to a man who doesn’t just have money but “come from it”. Everything around her is pedigreed — even the kitchen knives they are picking up to set up home after their upcoming nuptials. Ani does a ‘journalistic’ job that gives her mind a deluded sense of intellectual ambience even though she probably secretly hates doing it.

Soon enough you realise that everything she “stands for” is actually fake. As she reveals later, she’s conditioned herself to give people what they want to hear, what they want to see.

Okay, clearly, there’s something going on with her, and with the wedding preparations acting as a kind of trigger (though it’s not really explained why), the script soon devolves into a back and forth of incidents that occurred a good 16-17 years ago. Somewhere the past and present collide (again, not done in a particularly organic manner), and there’s a complete turnaround in the tonality.

To my mind, where the movie stands out is in the portrayal of the characters. The matter-of-factness of them. Nobody is a ‘conventional’ victim. Most of the dramatis personae is flawed, with attributes that border on being excessive; in earlier times, the narrative would spew a line to the effect of “so-and-so had it coming”.

The other interesting angle which I will try to play spoiler is: does a perpetrator deserve to be “exposed” even if he (or she, as the case may be) has atoned in other ways and has suffered terribly? Again, earlier, this would have been called ‘just deserts’ or poetic justice and that would have considered commensurate punishment. But not in this case. The original sin needs its own form of absolution, which is perhaps the biggest dilemma that Luckiest Girl Alive tries to unbox.

sushmita@khaleejtimes.com


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