‘Luckiest Girl Alive’ Ending, Explained: What Was Ani Hiding? What Pushed Ani To Take A Step Against Dean?


“Luckiest Girl Alive” revolves around the perfect life of Ani Fanelli, a writer at a popular women’s magazine, engaged to a loving, preppie, financially stable man, to whom she was about to get married. But from the very beginning, we get to know that there is a past that haunts Tiffani, now known as Ani. Ani chose not to discuss the past events in her life. She only wanted to focus on becoming the ideal version of herself. Ani was a people-pleaser. She described herself as a wind-up doll who would say whatever people wanted to hear from her. But her perfect life was rattled when a documentary filmmaker requested to interview her about a school shootout for which she was held partially responsible. “Luckiest Girl Alive” barely has any hard-hitting moments. Chiara Aurelia, as Ani’s younger self, delivered a compelling performance. While the past made my skin crawl, the thirty-something Ani, played by Mila Kunis, is quite one-dimensional and monotonous.

 Spoilers Ahead

‘Luckiest Girl Alive’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?

Ani believed that Luke was in love with her because she had the “edge.” To men such as Luke Harrington, a woman who is passionate about her job, hates babies in general, and has some dark secrets that she only shares with him, is attractive. Well, Luke knew her past, but she was not necessarily honest with him. At a pizza place, Ani gobbles down two slices when Luke goes to the washroom. This incident, in a way, shows how there was a part of Ani that she considered so vile that she had pushed it away. She did not wish to risk losing the status that she had earned after all these years, and if that meant not doing what she truly wanted to do, so be it.

An independent documentary filmmaker, Aaron Wickersham, expressed his intention to interview Ani to discuss the 1999 private school gun shootout she was a part of. Ani’s classmate, Dean Barton, had accused Ani of her involvement in the shootout, and he had agreed to be a part of the documentary. Dean Barton was now a politician who had extensively worked on revising gun laws and had recently published a book. Aaron wanted Ani to come forward with her truth since she had never disclosed what had happened to her during that time. Ani was not yet ready to commit to it, especially after knowing Dean would be a part of it.

Ani started to revisit her memories at Brentley School, a tier-one private school where she was enrolled on a scholarship. She was surrounded by students who came from money, and it was not easy for her to get accustomed to their fancy lives. Even though it had been years since the massacre, Ani still received hateful comments from her school friends, who blamed her for what had unfolded. Everything around her was, in a way, pushing her to the edge. Not sharing her story was no longer the only option. She had it all, yet she felt hollow. She picked up her pen and finally wrote what had been killing her from the inside for years.

Understanding The Past: What Was Ani Hiding From The World?

After the initial hiccups at Brentley School, she managed to become friends with both the rich and the genius kids. Arthur was her number-one supporter and looked out for her at all times. When the school conducted the Brentley School Fall Dance event in 1999, Ani and her friends had the time of their lives. Arthur was taken aside by the principal because he was carrying a liquor flask with him. While Arthur was away, Hillary asked Ani to join her as they left the school premise to party at Dean’s house. After drinking at Dean’s place, Hillary asked Ani to join her as they were heading back to school, but Ani chose to stay a little longer. She had passed out, and when she came to her senses, she remembered her classmate Peyton making out with her. She was lying on the bathroom floor, unable to stop what was being done to her body. After Peyton left, Ani managed to stand up and tried to walk, but the boys would not let her escape. She was bleeding, and yet her boyfriend, Liam, chose to force himself on her. After he left, she once again got back up and left the bathroom. She entered Dean’s bedroom and tried to put clothes on. When she saw Dean enter the room, she tried to make some excuse to leave, but he held her down and raped her. She punched him and managed to escape. She rushed to the nearest essential store and found her teacher, Andrew Larson, there. He took her to his residency and requested that she inform her mother, but she refused. The next day, Mr. Larson informed the principal about it, but even he was questioning Ani’s memory. When the principal started dialing her mother’s number, Ani stopped him and decided not to file a case. Mr. Larson was fired from the school for not stopping the students from leaving the school premise.

Ani feared her mother. She knew that her mother would never understand what she went through, and instead, she would blame Ani for what had happened. Her mother had dedicated her life and money to her daughter’s education, and the fact that she attended a party and consumed alcohol, putting in line all that her mother had sacrificed, would make her furious. The lack of support from her mother was the primary reason why Ani chose not to take any action. She was taught from childhood that she could not take action against those with wealth. She had spent her entire life mixing with the right crowd to be taken seriously.

‘Luckiest Girl Alive’ Ending Explained: Why Did Dean Make The False Claim? What Pushed Ani To Take A Step Against Dean?

Arthur was enraged when he learned that Ani had not taken any action against the rapists. Instead, she even apologized to Liam, who was disappointed to learn that Ani was calling the events of the night gang rape. It was not the first time that Peyton, Liam, and Dean preyed on someone. They had been violent to Ben, Arthur, and Ani’s friend. Ani knew that she was on financial aid and that her life could go astray if she spoke about the gang rape. So even though Arthur pushed her to take action, she refrained from it.

Ani eventually agreed to be a part of the documentary, but only if she did not have to come across Dean. She disclosed how on the day of the shootout, she saw Ben enter the room she, Liam, Peyton, and Olivia were in. Ben went straight to Peyton and shot him in the head. When Ani, Olivia, and Liam tried to escape, Ben shot Liam from the back. Ani remembered not holding the door for Liam to escape simply because she did not care to risk her life for her rapist. When Olivia and Ani went downstairs, they found Dean. Arthur entered the room with a gun and asked Olivia to leave. He handed the gun to Ani and asked her to shoot Dean, but she could not. He grabbed the gun from Ani and shot Dean in the leg. Ani had a knife with her, so she stabbed Arthur in the neck with it. She knew that Arthur was taking revenge on all those who wronged them, but she was not someone who could support violence and kill her perpetrators. The next day, when she went to attend the funeral ceremony with her mother, they were barred from entering. Dean had spread the rumor that he refused to be Ani’s boyfriend after she was found to be sleeping with his friends, and that was the reason why she and her friends planned the shootout. Just as Ani was discussing the event on camera, Dean entered the scene. Ani immediately left, refusing to be a part of the documentary.

Luke supported Ani’s decision to not be a part of the documentary. He was never too keen on it, probably because watching his fiancé discuss how her body was violated was not something he was up for. He wanted her to accompany him to London and pursue an MFA course. He believed Ani was worth more than what she was earning and that perhaps writing a book would help her grow. But for Ani, working at The New York Times was a dream, and the fact that she had gotten an offer letter was an out-of-this-world feeling. But she decided to let it go to accompany Luke to London, but before leaving, she thought of writing down her experience and publishing it in The New York Times. Her editor read the piece and advised her to write something wholeheartedly if she wanted to instead of a polished version of what she had experienced. This was what pushed Ani to pour her heart out. She met with Dean at a book signing event. He threatened to blame her for the shootout if she spoke about the gang rape. He agreed that he made a mistake by spreading a false rumor. He did so to protect himself. He feared that Ani would share her story, and before she could do that, he spread the rumor that questioned her character. Ani recorded him admitting that he had raped her. She had always considered the feelings of others over herself, but now it was her time to write down the horror she had to live through when she was a teenager. Her mother got her a lawyer when she was in school and silenced her before she could ever confide in her what had happened that night. In her final years at school, she came across a woman in New York who was powerful, wealthy, and extraordinarily beautiful. She decided she wanted to be that woman in life, and she went to extremes to be her. But in the process, she had become a person she barely knew.

On the day of their rehearsal dinner, Ani was informed that her piece would be published. She was overjoyed after receiving the news, but Luke did not feel the same way. He was disgusted by the details of the incident and worried about how his family would react after reading it. Luke believed that she could have dealt with her experience privately. Luke thought that the rapists had paid for their mistake since Dean was in a wheelchair and the others were dead. He could not understand Ani’s rage and the need to come out with her story. Ani was not the woman Luke knew. She was no longer fun and cheerful. Ani had never shown her true self to him, knowing that he would not fall in love with that version of her. She pretended to be the woman he wanted her to be because she had always desired to be with a wealthy man such as Luke. After knowing that it was all a pretense, their relationship came to an end. Ani’s op-ed inspired women to share their experiences. She was no longer apologetic for speaking the truth. While Dean might have been working on gun law reformation, he could never be forgiven for his past actions.

“Luckiest Girl Alive” ends with Ani working at The New York Times. She was the woman she wanted to be, and she no longer cared what others thought about her. The weight of the past was lifted from her shoulders, and she was free from the guilt that consumed her. Ani evolved as a person. We met a people-pleaser and a social climber in the beginning, but later on, we got to see a more vulnerable side of Ani. Ani’s mother had a significant role to play in Ani’s desire to be with a financially stable man whose wealth she could flaunt. A part of Ani was repulsed by the man Luke was, and yet she was with him for social currency. Revisiting her past helped her to accept herself instead of running away from it.

“Luckiest Girl Alive” is a 2022 Drama Thriller film directed by Mike Barker.

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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