Photo credits: Searchlight Pictures
Attention is probably one of the most dangerous but popular cravings to have. “Not Okay” puts a big magnifying glass on this idea. The movie stars Zoey Deutch as Danni, the main character; Mia Issac as Rowan, who survived a school shooting; and Dylan O’Brien as Colin. The movie follows Danni, who is bored with her life as a writer for a magazine living in New York. She’s not getting any of the attention she craves at work or outside of it, quite frankly. She has a crush on Colin, who also works at the magazine, has a big presence on social media and is just a person everyone loves.
So, in order to get his attention with the bonus of others, she decides to lie about going on a trip to France, but it goes terribly wrong for her. IMDb describes the movie as “an ambitious young woman finds followers and fame when she poses as the survivor of a deadly attack, but she soon learns that online notoriety comes with a terrible price.” The movie is great to me because it depicts the reality of today so well of what it’s like to have all the attention in the world, pros and cons. What makes the movie truly special is that the ending is something not like others. There are no fairy tales or cheesy endings here.
They break the movie up into phases so you can see the complete rise and fall of having attention or just being in the public eye. Lena Wilson of The New York Times gave her perspective on the movie. “‘Not Okay’ stabs at the adverse effects of social media on our psyches and mostly succeeds at making Danni more than just ‘a privileged white girl who thinks she’s the main character,’ as a woman played by Shephard calls her.”
But the film is ultimately more content to luxuriate in the toxic sludge of internet culture than it is to try and clean it up. An interview with Entertainment Weekly’s director, Quinn Shephard, explains a lot of background on the movie. “Shephard wants to let you know immediately that Danni Sanders (Zoey Deutch) is not your usual main character. You’re supposed to hate her. The same goes for her love interest, her coworker, Colin (Dylan O’Brien).” This is different from what most movies coming out today want you to realize, especially one like this, that is so realistic to reality. She also talks about first starting to write the script for the movie in 2018 and how she spends a lot of time on social media, especially on TikTok.
Shepard gives insight into why the ending is the way it is, “I actually found that the melancholy aspect of the ending was really satisfying for people because it wasn’t hopeless, but it also wasn’t easy to digest.” Okay, I gave you all the information you need without really spoiling anything, so you can see for yourself. The movie is streaming exclusively on Hulu, so check it out.
Isaiah Ireland is a second-year media and culture major with a minor in digital marketing. II978280@wcupa.edu.