The Luckiest Girl Alive conclusion debated: Is Ani betraying Dean?
Ani Fanelli, a successful New Yorker preparing for her marriage to Luke Harrison, is the protagonist of the Netflix-produced thriller film The Happiest Girl Alive, based on the novel of the same name by Jessica Knoll. During the preparations, she is accused of being complicit in a series of murders at her former school. This forces them to deal with the topic. Directed by Mike Barker, the film follows protagonist Ani as she processes her traumatic experiences and tries to come to terms with her past in order to move on with her life. Ani’s efforts to overcome the same challenge pave the way for surprising developments that have a significant impact on her life. let’s be
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Summary of the story behind “The Happiest Girl Alive”
The first scene of The Happiest Girl Alive focuses on Ani and her fiancé Luke as they make preparations for their upcoming wedding. She continues to have thoughts and visions of blood, especially when near a knife, though preparations are ongoing. When Aaron Wickersham, a documentary filmmaker, meets Ani, he tries to persuade her to take part in filming a film about the school shooting that took place at the Brentley School when she was a teenager. Filming took place when Ani was a student there. She learns from Aaron that her former classmate and the only person to survive the shooting, Dean, has accused her of involvement in the crime. Dean is the only person who survived the shooting. Meanwhile, after the wedding, Luke proposes to Ani that they move together to London, where she will have a better chance of pursuing a writing career.
Ani’s current employer, The Women’s Bible, where she serves as managing editor, recommends that she apply for a job at The New York Times if Lolo works for the publication herself. When Ani meets her new teacher Andrew Larson for the first time, she can’t help but think back to the time when her former boyfriend Liam, his boyfriend Dean and Liam’s boyfriend Dean raped her. She turns to Aaron and tells him that she’s ready to be part of the documentary but wants to focus on the gang rape side of her story to uncover the truth behind Dean’s public facade. She reflects on how Larson tried to protect her and bring the three boys who raped her to justice, but lost his job at the school because of it. She feels angry and betrayed by Larson.
Ani’s friends Arthur and Ben told her at the time that Dean was powerful enough to suffocate anyone who spoke out against him. Arthur also revealed the manner in which Dean and his companions molested Ben. Ani attends the high school where she used to teach, where she reminisces about how Ben committed the mass murder of students, with a special focus on Liam and his friend. The fact that the gunman nodded to her while she hid from him led others to suspect that she was involved in the shooting. When Arthur handed her a gun and told her to take care of Dean, suspicions grew. When she hesitated, Arthur retrieved the gun from its hiding place and shot Dean in the leg, paralyzing him and forcing him to use a wheelchair. After that, Ani ended Arthur’s life out of fear.
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Does she identify as a sexual assault survivor?
Yes, Ani exposes Dean and comes forward as a rape survivor. Ani has had a hard time coming to terms with being a rape survivor her entire life. After Larson’s attempts to bring Dean and those responsible for her brutal assault to justice were unsuccessful, she realized there wasn’t much she could do to get revenge on those responsible for her assault. Ani, who was just a teenager at the time, didn’t have the mental strength to reveal to the world that she had survived a rape. Even her mother could not understand the extent of her suffering, as she criticized her for having immoral associations with boys instead of supporting her daughter. Her mother crucifies her daughter for having immoral relationships with boys.
Since then, Ani has made it her mission to live an enticing and prosperous life to bury the bitterness of her past. Yet despite her best efforts, the frequency and severity of her traumatic flashbacks and intrusive thoughts only increased. Her realization that it’s time to stop burying her mind and sacrifice a part of herself in the process is ultimately fueled by Dean’s relevance as a mass shooting victim and the respect and empathy he enjoys in a triggered social field because of his experience. Ani tells herself that the world has progressed so much that people understand the need to listen to a woman scream the word “rape” compared to when she was a teenager and the world wasn’t that advanced was.
Ani outs Dean and reveals she’s a sexual assault survivor by publishing a personal essay at her new post, The New York Times. When she confronts Dean about raping her in a bookstore, she secretly records him admitting the act while making a deal with her to no longer accuse him of the crime in exchange for her silence about the incident. Realizing that the world is in a better place to receive Ani’s truth is proven entirely correct when a number of women reach out to her and tell her they have had experiences comparable to Ani’s own. Her voice, silenced as young adults, is now heard by a significant number of women across the country.
Ani writes the essay to redeem herself personally. She wishes that the trauma of the gang rape didn’t bring her down and that she could stop imagining blood running through her hand. She gives countless women the opportunity to tell themselves that they are not alone and that their sufferings are always valid by writing about the same issues that she experienced herself.
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Should Ani and Luke quit or tie the knot?
Ani and Luke separate. Thanks to her relationship with Luke, Ani is able to detach herself from her past. She struggles to focus on the positive aspects of their friendship so she can put Dean and the other two boys who raped her out of her mind. After a difficult childhood, Ani begins to believe that marrying Luke will give her a sense of security and independence from her past. On the other hand, she concludes that her beliefs are not grounded in reality. Over the course of their relationship, Ani has vented her resentment towards the men who sexually abused her before Luke, to the point where she has started teasing him. She comes to the conclusion that she cannot continue their relationship after being made aware that she harbors grudges against her fiancé.
Ani concludes that Luke is not the right person to blame for her struggles and trauma and decides to cut ties with him. Furthermore, just like Ani’s mother, Luke is oblivious to the seriousness of his sister’s plight, which is extremely problematic. In his opinion, the fact that three men raped her was nothing more than a “mistake” they had made, and they had already paid the price for it. He does not take into account Ani’s suffering, which does not go away or goes away entirely simply because two of the rapists have been killed and the other is confined to a wheelchair. He doesn’t take that into account. Luke interprets Ani’s essay as an act of retaliation on his part, rather than a method for her to come to terms with the reality of her suffering.
When Ani finally lets go of her pain and the traumatic experiences she went through, Luke can only think of how much fun she used to be. Luke is more concerned about the rehearsal for their wedding dinner the day Ani bravely reveals she survived a rape. As a result, that day Luke doesn’t even try to offer her his support. As a result, Ani doesn’t end her relationship with Luke for no apparent reason. Although they break up, Ani makes it clear to Luke how much she loves him. However, love alone does not seem to be enough for Ani to share her life with him. She might want someone who is aware of the depth of her struggles as she begins a new chapter in her life, rather than someone who is just striving to see her “funny” side as she begins this new phase in her life.