Monday, November 28, 2022

Happiest Girl Alive: The Biggest Differences Between the Netflix Movie and the Bestselling Novel

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In 2015, writer Jessica Knoll published her book The happiest girl in the world. The novel went on the New York Times bestseller list. With all the hype surrounding the book, the film rights to the story were quickly acquired by Lionsgate, and Reese Witherspoon’s production company, Pacific Standard, took over production of the film.

Although uncommon in the industry, the author of the book also served as screenwriter. Production on the film began in 2021, with Mila Kunis cast as the lead actress, TifAni “Ani” Fanelli. The film was released in select theaters on September 30, 2022, and then released for Netflix streaming on October 7, 2022.

While the film received mixed reviews, what surprised fans of the story most were the key differences between the novel and the film. Discover three of the most striking differences between the The happiest girl in the world Novel and film adaptation below.

A fundamental difference between the The happiest girl in the world Bestselling novel and the Netflix film was how the relationship between Ani and Mr. Larson was portrayed. In the book, fans turned the pages telling the story of how Ani and Mr. Larson began a relationship years after Mr. Larson had been Ani’s high school teacher.

Readers learned that in high school, Ani developed a crush on Mr. Larson, who was in his early twenties. The couple gets back together when they both meet up in Bradley to share their stories in the upcoming documentary and things are heating up between the duo.

In comparison, the cinematic relationship between Ani and Mr. Larson is very different. In the film, Ani and Luke have dinner with Mr. Larson and his wife, with Ani revealing to Mr. Larson that she is his former student Tiffani.

Nothing physical happens between the two in the film, the only sighting of Mr. Larson in the film is at dinner and then in a flashback helping Ani after her attack. Mr. Larson just doesn’t have the same importance in the movie as the character does in the book.

Another fundamental difference between the novel and the film is Ani’s ending with Luke. In the book, Ani and Luke almost get married. However, readers discover that Ani calls it quits after Luke finds out he got rid of one of her Bradley memorabilia without asking her.

Luke’s actions lead Ani to realize that he has never really cared about her past or the trauma she suffered and just wants her to move on and forget everything that happened. In the film, Ani also decides to leave Luke. However, the rationale behind it is different.

In the film, Ani decides to write a report about her attack The New York Times. Just before she is about to walk down the aisle, she tells Luke about her article. Luke is admittedly opposed to Ani going public with the reveal, and fans see Ani leave Luke and choose her story over him.

A final key difference between the film and the novel is the documentary. In the book, Ani was already offered the opportunity to shoot the documentary. Readers learn that she is determined to share her past Bradley School-related trauma in the documentary and looks forward to finally getting the opportunity to clear her name.

In comparison, Ani in the film is not determined to take part in the documentary. Instead, she is forced by the documentary filmmakers to take part in the project. Overall, the balance between the filmmakers and Ani is very different in the film than in the novel.

Although there are a number of key differences between the film and the novel, the common theme of both stories is that Ani can finally tell the world the truth about the assault and trauma she suffered during her high school years.

TIED TOGETHER: “The Happiest Girl Alive” was inspired by Jessica Knoll’s rape; Why She Dated Her Rapist 2 Years Later

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