Not Okay Quick View; Grade: B
Not Okay tells a story about a young woman named Danni (Zoey Deutch), who aspires to be a writer someday. Danni is yearning to get the same amount of attention, as influencers get, for example Colin (Dylan O’Brien) as Danni feels like she doesn’t exist. Danni figures in order for her to gain some clout for her social media, she plans on faking an entire trip to Paris, as with the help of photoshop she can create some convincing images. While Danni falls back to sleep, as she posted about having breakfast in Paris… When she wakes up, Danni’s phone blows up, as they’re has been a terrorist attack in Paris. Instead of Danni coming clean, that she was never in Paris to begin with as she’s perfectly ok… She decides to go along with the narrative, as she plays victim during an event she was never involved with. Danni slowly but surely becomes a popular presence on social media, as Danni is falling off the rails gaining attention on a flat out deceivable lie.
Film maker Quinn Shephard made a solid directorial debut with Blame, as she made her way with this drama that centers around the toxic nature of modern day society in terms of popularity/fame. This follow up was yet again a solid entry by Mrs.Shepherd.
Danni though is a character that develops into an unlikable protagonist once the plot is introduced, she however is a character in which you understand clearly. Sometimes people in today’s society, tend to get extremely insecure when they aren’t get much traction on social media. Whether it’s barely gaining any likes on your posts or not getting as many followers… People have that feeling that they don’t feel seen in society, as they’re invisible.
The culture we currently live in terms of desperate attention seeking, is getting extremely out of control, comparable to Danni’s situation. It doesn’t matter how despicable, distasteful, or disgraceful what one does, if they see a result of popularity in terms of social media presence and fame… They’ll do it by any means. That’s why we see so many messed up individuals in today’s society, that they feel social media presence is the only way to receive value in the world, as we continue to popularized those whom are really just extremely conceded individuals and nothing more.
The story at hand was fairly told, as it kept the viewer interested as how far this lie is going to escalate. It also dives deep when Danni attends a grieving group, where those that attend this group is grieving from a horrific event they’ve experienced. You get to be in the shoes to those whom ACTUALLY lived through an immense tragedy, where they’re mental estate is truly shocked, and the immense pain they’re feeling inside. Then you have Danni continuing to lie and even trying to capitalize on social media presence, by befriending Rowan (Mia Isaac) whom is popular on social media through the tragedy she faced and becoming a popular activist, to hopefully gain attraction of her written piece of “the tragedy” Danni “experienced” while she was in Paris. It gets more and more vile over the course of time as you watch Danni’s dignity and decency slowly rot away, as you feel more angered for the victims whom actually lived through actual tragedies like the characters in this film.
I feel the film does a responsible job, in letting the viewer realize that gaining a massive social media presence, is not all that is cracked up to be. Like sure you get a fair high off the attention, but like Danni during her time living off fame… You then realize it’s not all that cracked up to be. In fact: Majority of the time these influencers are nothing but empty, self loathing pricks, whom really don’t have to much to offer nor say. I mean considering the extremely awkward unpassionate sex scene between Colin and Danni… It’s just an empty world, with little glamor.
I also really enjoyed the whole “#NotOkay” trend, as it felt like a complete parody of modern day movements. Majority of these social media centered movements, often times are not created as completely genuine where one is trying to make a difference. It’s more centered around trying to gain social media presence, to gain a profit, and not towards the intentions of making an impact of society by any means. Since this movement is centered around Mental Health… You can guarantee 75-80% of the time, when Mental Health is talked about on social media, it’s never about genuinely caring about Mental Health.
I do have a few flaws with Not Okay. I felt there are some cringe worthy dialogue moments, in which make you not take some important characters seriously. The story in the third act has content creators discussing White Privilege with Danni’s unhealthy behavior… Huh?! I really don’t understand what White Privilege had to do with anything, I feel that term has come to the point where it has no significant meaning, so if a caucasian person does something wrong… They just throw it out there for clicks. Danni just has a troubled mind that did something wrong because she wanted social media presence, because the world finds a strong social media presence “valuable” as it must be achieved by any means… I understand this society’s unhealthy obsession with White Privilege, but if you’re going to discuss it, make sure you don’t come off as a complete dumb ass.
We have yet another warning disclosure to address yet again. I understand the whole strobe light warning, but when it comes to a warning that has to deal with the plot… That is something that doesn’t NEED to be shown by any means. Why are we dumbing down the audience, to tell them exactly how one should feel about a certain character in the story?! That whole forewarning is absolutely disgraceful, stop ruining movies with these unnecessary warnings, stop ruining the experience by telling them exactly what is going to happen in your film BEFORE it’s shown and how they should feel about it, let the audience figure and experience the film out for themselves.
Overall, Not Okay was a solid film. I recommend checking this one out, can be found on HULU. -Mitch Smietana