It’s Okay to Admit When You’re Not Okay
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Year Released: 2022
Runtime: 1h 40m
Director(s): Quinn Shephard
Writer(s): Quinn Shephard
Cast: Zoey Deutch, Mia Isaac, Embeth Davidtz, Nadia Alexander, Tia Dionne Hodge, Negin Farsad, Dylan O'Brien
Where To Watch: premiering on Hulu on 7/29
When is it okay to make light of something terrible? When it ultimately is used to teach a more powerful lesson. NOT OKAY is a dark comedy that shows what the need for admiration, acceptance and a following can do to someone. At first, I thought the film would be a pretty by-the-book comedy about a dark topic. I was wrong, and I am thrilled that director Quinn Shepard took a chance and that Searchlight Pictures backed the story as is. I’m curious about her feature debut from 2017, titled BLAME, and I’ll be hunting it down for sure.
Without a doubt, the film rests on the shoulders of Zoey Deutch (ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP) as Danni Sanders, and she carries that weight with ease. Her performance is perfectly balanced by Mia Isaac as Rowan, who plays Deutch’s friend and foil in the film perfectly. This is only Isaac’s second feature role, so I’m excited to see what roles they take on next. I can’t compliment the film's cast without mentioning Dylan O’Brien (TEEN WOLF, THE MAZE RUNNER), who plays Colin, a stereotypical character who breaks the mold of what I was expecting.
What appealed to me the most is that the story of the film (although exaggerated) is a very plausible story. There is a real-life desire to gain that following; I can attest to that from personal experience. My TikTok and Instagram feel like an addiction; every time I see a new follower, it just boosts my adrenaline and pushes me that much harder to gain more. The film feels so much more “real” because it was somewhat based on the director's real-life experiences. “Writing NOT OKAY was a way for me to cope with the emotional information overload I was experiencing and use satire to critique it,” says Shephard.
While reading the film's production notes, I was struck by how much of a caricature of real people the cast was. Not so much that they’re based on real-life individuals, but a hyper stereotype that somehow feels “real” within the confines of the world of the film. I could write 1,000 words on this one of those films without blinking an eye, but I’ll keep it short. If you watch the film, please contact me in the comments section and let me know your thoughts.
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