Ani FaNelli lives a storybook life. She’s worked her way to the top — landing an editor position at the New York Times Magazine — and found love along the way in a trust fund baby named Luke. But the more she paved her way toward a future most people only dream of, the more dirt she tossed behind her, hoping to keep her past sufficiently buried. In the trailer for Netflix’s Luckiest Girl Alive, FaNelli (Mila Kunis) discovers that lavish weddings and glossy new jobs can only cover up so many old wounds.
Based on Jessica Knoll’s 2015 New York Times bestselling novel of the same name, Luckiest Girl Alive follows the unraveling of FaNelli’s dream life as a documentary filmmaker comes poking around, aiming to recount a haunting incident of sexual assault she found herself involved in as a student at the prestigious Bradley School.
Directed by Mike Barker with a screenplay written by Knoll, the film pulls from the author’s real-life experience as a teenager. “I was so conditioned to not talk about it that it didn’t even occur to me to be forthcoming,” she told The New York Times in 2016. “I want to make people feel like they can talk about it like they don’t have to be ashamed of it.”
As the documentary begins to take shape, FaNelli is pelted with questions about the violent past she’s long tried to avoid. “People want to know,” the filmmaker tells her. “Were you a hero, or an accomplice?” The building blocks of her perfect life begin to lose stability as those around her either encourage her secrecy or feign betrayal for being left out of the narrative.
“There was so much of my own story and experience embedded in this character,” Knoll shared in a statement via Netflix. “It was really important to me that I be the one to tell it.”
Barker added: “My job was to help [Jessica] tell her story in a different medium. It’s about a woman having to face the trauma she’s hidden for such a long time in order to move forward.”
Luckiest Girl Alive arrives on Netflix on Oct. 7. The film also features Finn Wittrock, Chiara Aurelia, Scoot McNairy, Thomas Barbusca, Justine Lupe, Dalmar Abuzeid, and more.