Mila Kunis’ dark new Netflix thriller is facing backlash for not including a trigger warning at the start of the film. Based on Jessica Knoll’s 2015 novel of the same name, Luckiest Girl Alive follows Ani Fanelli (Mila Kunis), whose seemingly perfect New York City life begins crumbling when a tragic incident from her past resurfaces. The film deals with heavy themes like school shootings, sexual assault and violence that can disturb viewers.
As it does with all its content, Netflix does mention that the film is rated A and contains “sexual violence, disturbing images, language, violence” at the top of the screen. However, the film itself does not come with a separate content warning to emphasize just how graphic and harrowing some scenes are. Luckiest Girl Alive features graphic sexual assault and a school shooting, which could potentially distress viewers.
Those who watched the film are rattled by the lack of trigger warning given for such scenes.
y’all please do not watch “luckiest girl alive” on netflix if you have SA trauma. this movie needed a big big big big big huge trigger warning
idk what i was expecting but it was NOT this
— caitree (@prettyxprophet) October 12, 2022
PSA to anyone interested in watching luckiest girl alive. the sexual violence is extremely graphic (35:00-46:00) the gun violence is also very graphic (1:10:16-1:17:04) so please please take caution when watching
— goth velma dinkley (@horrorfemmes) October 15, 2022
The film itself does a poignant job of depicting trauma and PTSD. It tackles complex and sensitive subjects like the aftermath of assault and victim blaming with haunting accuracy. Mila Kunis delivers a truly compelling performance as Ani, and the film makes for a gripping watch overall.
Luckiest Girl Alive on Netflix, shows a glimpse of what rape victims go through with all the victim blaming, slut shaming, the intense trauma afterwards and how pressured the society is to them to just snap out of it and move past it. Good watch! #LuckiestGirlAlive
— Cynthia Cycy🇷🇼 (@CynthiaCycyyy) October 8, 2022
‘luckiest girl alive’ was a brutally honest and gut wrenching movie. if you have ever experienced rape this movie will hit hard and won’t be easy to watch, but damn, it is worth the watch. i am proud to be a fucking woman, we are stronger than any man that walks this earth.
— alivia (@AKSZABO) October 13, 2022
But the creators of Luckiest Girl Alive are presenting it simply as a dark thriller with some elements of violence and assault. Netflix’s warnings understate how hard-hitting it becomes, especially for survivors. This could overshadow the film’s powerful message by causing shock and discomfort to viewers unprepared for its graphic visuals.
Netflix previously faced similar woes with 13 Reasons Why, which featured graphic scenes of suicide sexual violence. After viewers and parents raised concerns, they promised to add “an additional viewer warning card before the first episode”, and improve “the messaging and resource language in the existing cards”, according to a statement quoted by Variety. The show was notoriously controversial for its disturbing depictions of sensitive issues.
Trigger warnings are an important part of getting any cinematic message across. They help protect viewers, especially younger viewers, from a disturbing experience or from reliving their trauma. While Luckiest Girl Alive makes an impactful statement, it must also be cautious of making sure that this statement reaches audiences in the right way.