Mila Kunis in Netflix Thriller – Deadline


Following in the not-too-distant footsteps of popular female thrillers such as missing girl and The girl on the train, The luckiest girl in the world tells the bracing but disreputable story of a successful career woman who struggles once and for all to come to terms with a highly traumatic episode of youth. The emotions expressed here are almost all negative, which is understandable given the terrible story that eventually emerges. Also, the characters, especially the lead actress, hardly represent the best of the company. But what it ultimately leads to in the final scenes provides a difficult emotional reality and self-searching in the sense of what you could have done in the same situation, which is at least a bit more than what others tales of this ilk provide.

Jessica Knoll’s 2015 novel, her second, is set several floors below those occupied by people like Succession, but it’s pretty much the same Manhattan neighborhood, at least attitude-wise. The imaginative name of Tifani FaNelli (Mila Kunis) is a stylish woman in her thirties who, initially, is about to leave her job as a gossip columnist for a valuable position as the editor of The New York Times magazine. She also has to marry a real catch in the Adonis-like Luke Harrison (Finn Wittrock). What could go wrong with this image?

As often, this is something of the past. Assorted flashback clips throughout the rather lengthy two-hour running time reveal that a very unpleasant incident once upon a time occurred at a private boarding school that Tifani (where did they find that spelling?) at the era participated in covering up. Even though the crime resulted in death, Tifani never told the full story and managed to walk away unscathed, legally if not emotionally.

But now the long arm of the law – or at least gossip – threatens to upend her perfect life just as she must rise in every way, professionally and personally. Knoll adapted the novel for the screen herself, and the storyline is loaded forward with an exposition in which peripheral characters tell the most important characters things they already know: “You are a gunfight survivor deadliest school in history!” someone notifies a real victim who could have been, as if they may have forgotten. But we soon see flashback footage of the intimate massacre that killed several students, and much of what follows hinges on what reporter Tifani decides she wants or doesn’t want to reveal about just what really happened. passed something like 20 years earlier.

“The past is never dead,” someone mentions sympathetically, and it’s clear from Tifani’s neuroses that she’s still very troubled by what she went through back then. As played by Kunis, Tifani comes across as almost permanently tense and tightly coiled, and it’s somewhat disconcerting how much different Chiara Aurelia, the actress who plays Tifani as a teenager, is by compared to the older actress.

Tifani has every reason to feel tense, but Kunis’ performance remains in closed mode most of the time, with very little modulation or character reveal, which prevents this intelligent and accomplished woman from showing a very wide range of colors and emotions. Despite her angst-ridden dilemma, it’s not that easy to truly bond with her, and the storyline would have been helped by a scene or two of Tifani and her future husband displaying real intimacy which could have provided greater grounding. . interest in their relationship.

British director Mike Barker – whose many TV credits including The Handmaid’s Tale, Fargo and Broadchurch outclassing its big-screen efforts to date – maintains that fast, cohesive movement, which helps the young characters’ behavior under shocking duress seem believable. The long-term question is whether they can live with their terrible secrets all their lives or eventually spill the wick, come what may.

The luckiest girl in the world was written with adherence to a particular popular formula to reach a particular audience of mostly young women, but it contains enough elements of “What would you have done under the same circumstances?” which gives it some credibility. Stereotypical as it is, the story nonetheless confronts the persistence of guilt over questionable past behavior and how people struggle to deal with it, even long after the fact.

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