Not Okay (2022) is a black comedy film written and directed by Quinn Shephard. Satirical in tone, the film follows Danni Sanders [Zoey Deutch], a young woman who tries to create a false image of her life through social media.
As social media becomes more prevalent in our everyday lives, we have seen more films centred around the topic – usually portraying the negative aspects – think Ingrid Goes West (2017) and Eighth Grade (2018) which are all about curating a preferable portrayal of oneself.
In Not Okay, Danni decides to edit her photos so it looks to her followers like she has gone on a trip to Paris. In the film, a terrorist attack happens in her supposed location, which leads her family and work colleagues to believe she was there. Rather than coming clean, Danni sees an opportunity to garner attention and special allowances from those around her.
Before the film starts, there is a tongue-in-cheek content warning viewers of an “unlikable female protagonist”, which sets the tone of what is an exercise of provocative satire. At its core, Not Okay is a film about morality in an individualistic society. The satirical element comes from Danni finding herself in what she sees as an ethical dilemma, whilst operating amongst similarly bad characters, such as Colin [Dylan O’Brien], and the other self-involved employees at online news site Depraved.
These characters are juxtaposed by some positive examples, such as Rowan [Mia Isaac], who uses social media to spread awareness and support, however this is mainly used as a plot device to exacerbate Danni’s underhandedness rather than commenting on anything wider.
Whilst Not Okay doesn’t add anything particularly new to the discourse of social media criticism, especially that which is explored through this emerging subgenre, it is worth watching and entertaining for its runtime, which Zoey Deutch’s performance largely contributes to.
Final rating: 6.5/10
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