Is Netflix’s Luckiest Girl Alive based on a true story?

By Daniel Hart
Published: October 7, 2022 (Last updated: March 12, 2024)

Luckiest Girl Alive follows Ani (a terrific Mila Kunis), a writer in New York City who seemingly has a perfect life. She has a job at a top magazine where her editor Lolo (Jennifer Beals), thinks she’s a rising star whose writing is “peerless” to the rest. Ani’s also engaged to a bachelor, Luke (Finn Wittrock), who comes from a wealthy family and has a top finance job in London waiting for him, to the glee of her mother (played by Connie Britton). She is so image-conscious that she won’t eat a slice of pizza in front of her fiancé unless he leaves the table. And then she blames the server for spilling a drink on them, which leads to the food being tossed.

However, many viewers will be wondering if the Netflix film Luckiest Girl Alive is based on a true story…

Is Netflix’s Luckiest Girl Alive based on a true story?

The Netflix film is based on the book of the same name. However, while it’s mostly fiction, the story of Ani, Mila Kunis’s character, is inspired by events that happened in the author’s life.

The author of Luckiest Girl Alive is Jessica Knoll, and in 2016, she revealed that the description of Ani being raped is based on a rape she survive at the age of 15. The truth of her ordeal was not revealed until 2016, and before then, she denied any similarities to her and Ani. The traumatic events that shaped Jessica Knoll’s life and, ultimately, inspired her to write the book were discussed in The Guardian:

Knoll was slipping in and out of consciousness at a party, when she was raped by 3 boys at 15-years-old. She later recalled “waking up later in a bathroom, seeing a toilet bowl of blood-tinged water, and not understanding where it came from”. A doctor gave her the morning after pill but refused to call the ordeal a rape. Her classmates found out, and referred to her as “s**t”. Such was the backlash against her, Knoll wrote in the essay “I apologized to my rapist for calling him a rapist. What a thing to live with”. 

Knoll’s therapist when she was 22, asserted she was raped, saying it must be referred to as such. With therapy to help her come to terms with the event, Knoll concluded that she was “very, very angry”, adding “I was so conditioned to not talk about it that it didn’t even occur to me to be forthcoming. I want to make people feel like they can talk about it, like they don’t have to be ashamed of it”

Who is the author of Luckiest Girl Alive, Jessica Knoll?

Jessica Kroll has had a busy writing life, but let’s break down the main highlights:

  • In 2013, she resigned as editor of Cosmopolitan.
  • Soon after, she joined Self at Conde Nast. In the background, she was working on Luckiest Girl Alive.
  • Her book was was subject to a bidding war, but Reese Witherspoon ultimately won the rights to create a film.
  • Other work by Jessica Knoll includes The Favorite Sister. She also has four screenplays and a horror film lined up (bought by Amazon). We’ll be seeing more of Jessica Knoll’s work in the future.

From a personal perspective, Jessica has kept her personal life quite secretive, with little detail on her husband. But she is from Philadelphia and now lives in LA with her husband and dog.

How is the Netflix film Luckiest Girl Alive being received?

So far, there are not enough critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes to come to a consensus, but at Ready Steady Cut, we gave the film a favorable review:

“Visceral while also empowering, Luckiest Girl Alive holds the viewer’s attention with an absorbing mystery and moments of sobering reality. Kunis’s slow descent from numbing pain to self-awareness is subtle but transfixing” – 4 stars out of 5.

You can watch the film on Netflix, and it is available globally.

Additional Reading

Netflix, News, Streaming Service