Writing materials

Jessica Knoll’s sharp writing inspires heartbreaking performances

The luckiest girl in the world is a brilliantly dark and twisted story of the impact of sexual assault on a young woman. Based on the 2015 novel by Jessica Knoll, the Netflix feature gets five stars from Showbiz Cheat Sheet for its sharp writing, shocking storytelling, and heartbreaking performances that make this dark story more than acceptable to audiences.

‘Luckiest Girl Alive’ Gets 5 Stars From Showbiz Cheat Sheet

‘Luckiest Girl Alive’ is based on the sexual assault of Jessica Knoll

Knoll’s debut novel, which landed at the top of the New York Times bestseller list almost instantly, centers on a successful young woman who battles the lingering trauma of a devastating sexual assault she suffered in adolescence. In reality, Knoll herself suffered a sexual assault.

“I have been encouraged by many of the best publishers [at Cosmopolitan Magazine] who said I had a great voice and should write a book,” Knoll said in a Netflix press release. “I knew I wanted to write about my own experiences, but under the protection of fiction because it seemed like the safest way to do it at the time.”

Andrew (Scoot McNairy) consoles a young Ani (Chiara Aurelia) after her sexual assault in 'Luckiest Girl Alive'
Scoot McNairy as Andrew, Chiara Aurelia as Young Ani | Sabrina Lantos/Netflix

Knoll has previously chronicled her sexual abuse for outlets like Lenny Letter and Lena Dunham’s The Cut. Now, her story continues in the Netflix drama. Knoll’s unwavering voice is honestly compelling in both translations. Makes sense – she insisted on writing the screenplay for the Netflix adaptation. As a result, Knoll had complete control over the narrative of a traumatic experience that so many women have had.

Mila Kunis changed Ani FaNelli slightly for the Netflix movie

The luckiest girl in the world differs slightly from the source material in how it portrays TifAni FaNelli. “Ani is a very tightly controlled person,” Knoll says. “Everything in her life has been meticulously crafted to present herself and her life in a certain way. It has a lot to do with what she’s been through.

Mila Kunis as Ani in ‘The Luckiest Girl Alive’ | Sabrina Lantos/Netflix

After several classmates rape her, Ani’s peers shame her and blame her for her experience. She quickly falls from the ranks of popularity and finally. Her disgrace causes her classmates to think she had more to do with a school shooting than she actually does.

As an adult, Ani does everything in her power to keep people from speaking ill of her. Beneath that picture-perfect exterior, however, lies a teenage girl in search of vindication.

Armed with this knowledge, Mila Kunis approached the role as if she were playing two characters. “When the draft came to me, I was immediately taken with how I could understand Ani’s reasoning,” Kunis said. “I wanted to dig deeper into her. … I signed on with the idea of ​​encouraging Jessica to rewrite certain aspects and look into the psychological aspects of her character. Jessica was in, and that was the most exciting part for me.

In this way, Kunis peels away the layers of Ani and shows the audience her internal and external dialogues. Both are essential to storytelling – both are imperative to helping the audience side with this unreliable narrator.

Of course, Kunis’ performance is made more believable by Chiara Aurelia’s portrayal of young Ani. We only get glimpses of young Ani’s past, but they’re enough to paint the picture of her heartbreaking rise to popularity and eventual fall from grace.

Flow The luckiest girl in the world with Kunis, Aurelia, Finn Wittrock, Scoot McNairy, Jennifer Beals and Connie Britton exclusively on Netflix.

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