Where i Watched it: Netflix
Audio Description provided By: International Digital Center
Written By: Liz Gutman
Narrated By: Amanda Bhutan
i didn’t even realize there was a book for this, or that it was some kind of best seller. i just assumed, based on the title, and Mila Kunis, that this was the obligatory “send a girl to Europe” movie that Netflix has regurgitated several times this year. I was wrong. That ends up being a limited series instead for the month of October starring Zoe Saldana. Apparently, they’re sending girls to Europ in all forms now.
Instead, this is a dark film. I’d say, in many ways, it’s actually the darkest film Mila Kunis has made, and that’s acknowledging Black Swan. This is a “trigger warning” movie if I ever saw one. It has two topics covered in detail here that I’ve seen literally in other works with actual trigger warnings. So, be warned.
Since the story was unfamiliar to me, and i went in not knowing anything, I realized this film is best served if you don’t know the details. I’m sure for those who read the book it’s a totally different experience, but here, it’s best to see Kunis’s character get those layers pulled back while the film also shows you all the reasons why she might not actually be the Luckiest Girl Alive.
Kunis does some of her best work here, but considering she has to share the bulk of her role with a girl playing the childhood version of her, it’s a thankless role. unlike The Lost Daughter where Olivia Coleman and Jessie Buckley seemed to compliment two halves of the whole, Kunis is far more well adjusted on the surface, and what her younger self went through is the literal opposite.
I don’t want to give anything else away, but how this movie progresses is interesting, and the distorted mirror versions of this single woman, as we switch from past to present, keep you always feeling like you are watching something that is heading to a boiling point of no return, kind of like how Promising Young Woman goes all the way.
The audio description by Gutman and Bhutan is tough and as tasteful as it can be. It seeks to just describe, and not to glorify the tragedy on screen. It’s a nice balance that worked rather well.
My biggest problem might be the runtime, as I think this film has a tighter version. Considering the structure, and how it shows you trauma, and then sets up a potential retribution, the path in between isn’t quite as interesting as it was in promising Young Woman, which managed its runtime by having us hit a series of points along the way. This one feels a little slower, as it sits more in the character, and works itself to what seems to be a final conflict.
It’s better than a lot of the Netflix output, but because of the tough content, I’m sure it’s also not for everyone. If you find yourself easily triggered by content in films, this one is probably not for you.
Final Grade: B