Warning: This post contains spoilers for “Luckiest Girl Alive.”
Netflix viewers are issuing their own trigger warnings for “Luckiest Girl Alive,” after some watchers say they weren’t prepared for the level of violence against the main character in the film.
The new movie, based on the 2015 novel of the same name by Jessica Knoll, follows magazine writer Ani FaNelli (Mila Kunis) as she has to confront two traumatic experiences from her childhood after she’s asked to be a part of a true crime documentary.
The movie, which is currently at the top of Netflix’s Top 10 movies chart, is rated R for “violent content, rape, sexual material” as well as language and teen substance use.
Netflix briefly mentions scenes of “sexual violence” and “threat” in its pre-screening disclaimer, but critics are saying the warnings are not enough to prepare some viewers for depictions of a school shooting and a gang rape.
“I was bamboozled by Netflix’s description of luckiest girl alive,” one person tweeted. “No trigger warning no heads up no nothing.”
“Hey @netflix a content warning would have been nice!!! Graphic sexual assault and school shooting in this movie and there was no content warning or anything at all?? That’s messed up,” another person wrote in a tweet.
“i thought i missed the trigger warning about luckiest girl alive, but reading the tweets now, there were no TW about SA, right? anyway slaying this panic attack,” a Twitter user said.
One Twitter user summed up much of the reaction by saying, “Netflix really dropped the ball on not adding a giant trigger warning for Luckiest Girl Alive.”
With that in mind, some are issuing their own trigger warnings. “PSA for anyone who is gonna watch the movie, there is very graphic intense scenes of sexual assault in this movie,” another person tweeted.
Netflix did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TODAY.
Knoll, who wrote the novel the movie was based on and the screenplay, previously told TODAY the main character’s rape is based on his own experience in high school. A year after “Luckiest Girl Alive” was published in 2015, Knoll disclosed its biographical resonance in an essay for Lenny Letter.
“I always feel a little undeserving of being called brave or courageous, because I had to (open up) in fiction,” Knoll said. “There were these dueling things inside of me. I desperately craved the release of getting my story out on paper, and the validation of recognizing what had happened to me as rape. I needed that.
“But on the other hand, I was frightened that people would read it and come to the same conclusion that people did when I was in high school, which was that no violation had occurred and that I had somehow participated in it,” she continued .
Knoll, who also served as an executive producer, added she wasn’t on set for the filming of the sexual assault scene.
“A lot of that had to do with the fact that I didn’t want to make the actors feel uncomfortable,” she said. “I’m an executive producer and I wrote this thing and everyone knows that it’s inspired by my real life experience. I could tell people were nervous around me. I was like, ‘This is a job people need to do and I don’ don’t want to make it any more uncomfortable than it needs to be.”
Knoll explained the decision to include the mass shooting in the plot of the novel stemmed from people’s reaction to her own sexual assault.
“I still had the idea in my head that what happened to Ani wasn’t bad enough, because that’s what happened to me. I thought I had to make it worse,” she said.
During the shooting, two of Ani’s rapists are killed and a third is paralyzed. He goes on to become a politician campaigning for gun control.
“She’s now carrying the fact that they are ‘good victim.’ They’ve been gunned down. The community is mourning their deaths. Then, on top of it, Dean does something good and powerful with what happened to him. It becomes even harder for her to come forward,” Knoll said.
Netflix has added warnings to shows in the past, including the first episode of the fourth season of “Stranger Things,” which portrayed several school-age children being shot and killed.
The content warning was added in the wake of the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas school, that left 19 fourth-graders and two teachers dead.
This article was originally published on TODAY.com