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Starring: Mila Kunis, Finn Wittrock, Scoot McNairy, Thomas Barbusca, Jennifer Beals, Connie Britton, Chiara Aurelia, Dalmar Abuzeid
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Netflix mystery drama directed by Mike Barker. Luckiest Girl Alive (2022) centers on Ani Fanelli (Mila Kunis), a sharp-tongued New Yorker who appears to have it all, a sought-after position at a glossy magazine, a killer wardrobe, and a dream wedding on the horizon. But when the director of a crime documentary invites her to tell her side of the shocking incident that took place when she was a teenager at the prestigious Brentley School, Ani is forced to confront a dark truth that threatens to unravel her meticulously crafted life.
Our Favorite Quotes:'An approximation of honesty doesn't make the cut at the paper of record.' - Lolo Vincent (Luckiest Girl Alive) Click To Tweet
Ani Fanelli: It’s 2015, and people still act like marriage is some sort of crowning achievement for women. That is a trap I did not fall into. I dove in headfirst.
Ani Fanelli: [to Luke] Well, baby, we can’t start married life with inferior blades.
Ani Fanelli: I’ve managed to not eat lunch for six years just to have this joker call me petite. Petite is what they call short fat girls. I should know. I used to be one.
Ani Fanelli: [referring to Luke] He calls me “babe” with the finest of intentions.
Ani Fanelli: [referring to Luke] Heretofore, it is his birthright to marry a blond insect of Norwegian descent with a gender-ambiguous name, like Landry, or Devon, who can spot my grift a mile away.
Ani Fanelli: I’m not to the manor born, but I have something no trust fund can buy. The edge. It doesn’t take much in Luke’s world. Love your work, hate babies, even the cute ones, have a few lurid secrets, and be eternally grateful that Luke knows all of them and still loves me.
Ani Fanelli: Someone once called me an animal. One wrong move and Luke will see it too.
Ani Fanelli: Okay, so maybe I keep some secrets from him, but no one has ever made me feel so safe.
'The past is never dead. It's not even past.' - Andrew Larson (Luckiest Girl Alive) Click To Tweet
Ani Fanelli: Nell is a natural blond with a trust fund. I’m a try-hard former financial-aid kid. We both hate where we came from.
Ani Fanelli: I’m still scared I’m making a mistake.
Nell Rutherford: Getting married?
Ani Fanelli: No. No, like is Only You Pro the font of a trash slut who doesn’t know how to pass the salt and pepper shakers together.
Nell Rutherford: Oh, my God. There is no such thing as a slutty font. It doesn’t exist.
Lolo Vincent: Your voice, Miss FaNelli, is simply peerless. My jaw hurts after reading that.
Ani Fanelli: This is what sells our magazine. Apparently men’s pleasure is of global importance.
Lolo Vincent: [to Ani] When I count my blessings, I count you twice.
'Sometimes I feel like a wind-up doll. Turn my key, and I'll tell you exactly what you want to hear.' - Ani Fanelli (Luckiest Girl Alive) Click To Tweet
Ani Fanelli: I am this close to becoming Ani Harrison, senior editor at The New York Times Magazine, to becoming someone people can respect.
Ani Fanelli: Abstaining from lunch allows me to squat in Eleanor’s office when I need it. One day, I’ll have a corner office with my own insufferable display of prestigious, and frankly phallic-looking awards. Until then, I pretend I’m important.
Aaron Wickersham: You’re a survivor of the deadliest private-school shooting in history. And the reason it continues to captivate public interest is because there are still so many questions that you’ve never answered. People want to know were you a hero, or an accomplice?
Ani Fanelli: I had absolutely nothing to do with it.
Aaron Wickersham: Then why does Dean say you did?
Ani Fanelli: I don’t know.
Aaron Wickersham: Don’t you want to tell your side of the story?
Ani Fanelli: [referring to her ex-classmates] The one thing they all had that I didn’t? Pedigree.
'You just say what it is that you want, not what everyone else wants, and then you do that.' - Lolo Vincent (Luckiest Girl Alive) Click To Tweet
Ani Fanelli: Dean’s doing the documentary now.
Luke Harrison: Nice. It’s a last-ditch effort to get you to do it. You’re the story. You’re the one who’s never gone on record. He needs you. Hey. You should do it if you feel you need to do it. But remember, you don’t have to defend yourself to me or to anyone who really knows you. Who cares what anyone else thinks?
Ani Fanelli: [voice over] So easy to say when everyone loves you, Luke.
Ani Fanelli: Luke’s firm wants to pay him f***-your-feelings-money to move to London, where I’ll be barefoot and pregnant in a year.
Dina: I was watching Say Yes to the Dress the other day, and the girl on there had this tulle princess skirt you could tie on or tie off.
Ani Fanelli: Kate Middleton didn’t wear a tulle princess skirt to her wedding. Neither should the expecting child brides of Ohio.
Dina: Thank you. Yes, she was about six months along.
Nell Rutherford: Nothing about you is wrong. Jesus. Unclench, okay?
Ani Fanelli: Yeah, well, that’s impossible, what with the real housewife of Pennsyltucky in town.
Ani Fanelli: Dean’s making viral speeches at Congress, and I have a story due Monday about how to pleasure an uncircumcised p**is. They’re more sensitive than the ones without their turtlenecks, according to the experts. Nobody believed me back then, because I was a Wet Seal wearing gutter rat.
'Every challenge, every heartache, every tragedy in life offers an opportunity to do something different, to do something kind.' - Dean Barton (Luckiest Girl Alive) Click To Tweet
Ani Fanelli: If I’m going to do this, I need to be bulletproof. I need to be able to say that I work at The New York Times, that I live in an elevator doorman building in Tribeca, and that my name is Ani Harrison, because I married the lacrosse captain of Nantucket. And how dare anyone believe I did what Dean said I did while wiping away a single tear with this hand in particular.
Nell Rutherford: Four out of five. Not that you need any of it to make you credible.
Ani Fanelli: You don’t. But I do.
Ani Fanelli: Luke calls me the wife-whisperer. Like it’s so hard. Literally, all you do is act like they invented motherhood. There’s a special place in hell for women who can’t show you just one picture of their children.
Ani Fanelli: Mr. Larson, it’s me. TifAni.
Whitney Larson: Mr. Larson? Was he your teacher?
Andrew Larson: TifAni. I didn’t recognize you. You look…
Ani Fanelli: [voice over] Like none of it ever happened.
Andrew Larson: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
Ani Fanelli: Sometimes I feel like a wind-up doll. Turn my key, and I’ll tell you exactly what you want to hear.
'It's about the importance of all of us speaking freely, even if people want to silence us. So that we can become the kind of women our younger selves would admire.' - Ani Fanell (Luckiest Girl Alive) Click To Tweet
Luke Harrison: [to Ani] You know, sometimes I feel like another box you have to check off so you look like you’ve done okay.
Luke Harrison: Wouldn’t you rather be known for something you’ve created than this thing that happened to you so long ago?
Ani Fanelli: No. No. I want to be remembered for what really happened to me. I want vindication. It’s all I think about.
Aaron Wickersham: [referring to Ani’s assualt] I’ve gathered enough to know that that event was framed as something that you participated in. I’m so sorry, Ani. It makes me sick.
Ani Fanelli: Yeah, no participation trophy for me.
Ani Fanelli: What’s the point of being at your fighting weight if you’re not going to fight?
Aaron Wickersham: We do not want to see you re-traumatized. We could look into getting you a victims advocate. Sorry. I should probably ask if you prefer “survivor” to “victim”. I know that’s a big thing these days.
Ani Fanelli: Oh. Survivor? Gross.
Aaron Wickersham: So victim then?
Ani Fanelli: Yeah. Victim.
Ani Fanelli: [referring to Dean] I don’t want to feel bad for him. It’s so much cleaner if I could just hate him.
Dina: Do you like your life, TifAni?
Ani Fanelli: Yes, Mom. I have built a very nice life for myself.
Dina: And now with this documentary?
Ani Fanelli: What’s that have to do with this?
Dina: Everything. Everything, TifAni. Everything. You think you’re embarrassed of me now, and don’t try to say that you’re not, imagine what it’s going to be like when they find out about what happened.
Luke Harrison: [to Ani] I may not say everything right, but when I try to be respectful, it’s like you can’t handle it.
Arthur Finnerman: I don’t want you to thank me, I want you to act like you have a smidge of dignity. Just a tiny microscopic smidge. I mean, you have to have that much at least, right?
Young Ani: You can’t be mad at me. I didn’t ask you to do any of this.
Arthur Finnerman: [referring to Dean] You should be mad at you. You had a chance to take him down, and you didn’t because you’re so f***ing desperate to redeem yourself.
Ani Fanelli: You know, I always thought the most vulnerable you’ll ever see a person is from behind. Like you can autopsy every pore, every hair, like they’re defenseless. You know, I always thought it was cute that the back of Dean’s neck had blonde hairs when everywhere else was dark and coarse, when he jumped.
Aaron Wickersham: Witnesses claim that Ben said as though the two of you had an understanding. Is that true?
Ani Fanelli: Yes.
Aaron Wickersham: What was that understanding?
Ani Fanelli: [voice over] I wanted revenge too.
Ani Fanelli: That he was a victim too.
Aaron Wickersham: You’re lucky you have a mother who got you a lawyer and supported you. Not everyone has that.
Ani Fanelli: Yes. Very lucky. Luckiest girl alive right here.
Aaron Wickersham: Don’t let Dean run you out of here. Think about all the women you’re going to help by telling your story. You’re standing up for them too.
Ani Fanelli: All the women will be fine.
Ani Fanelli: I’d never seen a woman like that before. A woman who threatened people on the phone, who could buy herself expensive things, who cut a path through New York City simply because she looked like she had more important places to be than anyone else. I just had to get to that, I decided. And no one could ever hurt me again.
Lolo Vincent: [to Ani, referring to her essay] Your guys, I mean, they rot in the ground or whatever, but the people who love you, who failed you so miserably, stop trying to protect them with this vague half-a**ery, and you might actually have something there. But for now, let me be perfectly clear, an approximation of honesty doesn’t make the cut at the paper of record. So, you know, take another swing at it. Write it like no one will ever read it. Not Luke, not your musty in-laws, definitely not your parents. That is how you write something worth reading.
Lolo Vincent: [to Ani] Look, I’ll make it very simple for you. You just say what it is that you want, not what everyone else wants, and then you do that.
Dean Barton: [reading from his book] I had a choice to make on that day. I could blame the world for what happened to me, or I could find the opportunity. Every challenge, every heartache, every tragedy in life offers an opportunity to do something different, to do something kind.
Ani Fanelli: Do you know the difference between me and someone like you, Dean? Between me and an Arthur? Because I was angry too, so f***ing angry you wouldn’t believe it. But my anger is like carbon monoxide. It’s odorless, tasteless, colorless, and completely toxic, but only to me. See, I don’t take my anger out on anyone other than my f***ing self.
Dean Barton: If you talk about that night, I’ll deny it. And I’ll double down on my claim that you planned it with Arthur and Ben. And there’s a lot of people that are going to believe me.
Ani Fanelli: Are you seriously trying to threaten me right now?
Dean Barton: I’m trying to offer you a deal. Okay? You don’t talk about what happened that night. And I’ll say you had nothing to do with the shooting.
Ani Fanelli: See, I was a victim too. But no one ever treated me like one. So let’s just stop with your self-pitying bulls**t. Do you know how many times I’ve said the word “rape” in my life? I know, I f***ing hate that word too. Makes me want to peel my skin off. I wonder if you’ve ever used it, even once.
Dean Barton: Probably not.
Ani Fanelli: Probably not. So I’m going to sit here and watch you squirm while you make it a part of your vocabulary.
Ani Fanelli: [as she’s getting ready for her wedding rehearsal dinner] Good riddance, TifAni FaNelli. Welcome, Ani Harrison. You belong here. You do.
Luke Harrison: [at their rehearsal dinner] How could you not tell me about this?
Ani Fanelli: I’m sorry.
Luke Harrison: I guess, I just don’t understand. I always thought you had moved on from all this. I admired you for that. I thought you were so tough.
Ani Fanelli: So tough that I try to skip the part where I hurt about this? No. Until I do that, I’m just a fraud.
Luke Harrison: Fine. But can’t you work that out privately? I mean, do you have to get into the nitty-gritty details for the whole world?
Ani Fanelli: I don’t know what’s me and what part I invented to make people like me. God, I used to be so proud of that. I thought it was this chameleon who was so much smarter than everyone. God, so much smarter that I don’t even know a thing about myself.
Ani Fanelli: Do you remember the time you said you felt like a box that I just checked off? I do love you. But I’ve been using you. I resent you. It’s not fair. You’re not the one who hurt me, but I take it out on you.
Luke Harrison: I’ve never felt like you resent me.
Ani Fanelli: Because I’m like a wind-up doll. Turn my key, and I’ll tell you exactly what you want to hear.
Ani Fanelli: I have denied myself, and denied myself. I’m fine. I’m not hurt. And it has built up this rage inside of me. Look, I should’ve faced up to all of this sooner. I just think that I need to do it now without worrying about what you, or anyone else thinks about it.
Luke Harrison: Is this really happening right now?
Ani Fanelli: It’s like LoLo said, an approximation of honesty won’t make the cut. And that’s what I had with Luke. I hate that I hurt him, but this is where I belong. This is what I always wanted. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t suffering from a mild case of phantom limb syndrome. But maybe things are brighter without it.
Ani Fanelli: When I sat down to write this essay, the goal was to avenge my reputation, maybe stick it to the people who hurt me. But it’s become so much more than that. So much more than me. It’s about the importance of all of us speaking freely, even if people want to silence us. So that we can become the kind of women our younger selves would admire.
Ani Fanelli: I’m hearing from women who have never shared their stories, from women who have carried this horrible thing with them alone for thirty-eight years, and I just hope that no one has to ever do that again. I hope that people feel compelled to share their stories, to talk about what happened to them, and to know that you have nothing to be ashamed of.
Ani Fanelli: I would love to stay in touch, but I already forgot your name.
Sarah Gardener: It’s Sarah Gard…
Ani Fanelli: Oh, that’s okay. I’ll just remember you as the woman I told to go f*** herself on 5th Avenue.
Ani Fanelli: [voice over] Got to work on that delivery, FaNelli, but f*** that felt good.