I’m sure we have all thought to ourselves what it would be like to be famous at one point in our lives. We also know there is toxicity surrounding an unhealthy amount of social media consumption – the hunger for validation from verified accounts. Hearts from complete strangers; counting your success by each follower. These are topics at the heart of writer/director Quinn Shephard’s Not Okay.
Danni Sanders, played by Zoey Deutch – is a photo editor for a magazine; however, she has always craved more attention online. With no relationship or friends to speak of, she does anything in her power and lies to her team about going to a retreat in Paris by posing in her bedroom and using her editorial skills to create the illusion of actually being there. Little does she know, there is an attack on the city – worrying her family and work colleagues. Rather than coming clean and admitting it was all a facade – she poses as a survivor. This results in her gaining a colossal amount of attention, and most importantly – followers.
Not Okay is described as a dark comedy, painfully self-aware of the sort of deception that takes place daily online, written and directed by Quinn Shephard. I find having a previous actor as a director is ideal for tips and insights. I would argue Not Okay is a wake-up call to those who believe social media is the “be all and end all” to success while ignoring what is right in front of them. The reality is that nobody likes themselves, and everything you see online is controlled by how those people want you to perceive them.
Deutch portrays the deceiver part exceptionally well. Ignorance is bliss or so they say. I did feel remorse for her character at times, as I saw someone who lacked the confidence and insight to achieve her goal authentically. Regardless of feeling remorse, it was all too little too late for Danni. The damage was done and trust was broken.
Mia Isaac plays Rowan with a phenomenal performance. Her character is a healthy example of using your social media platform to help others and promote important causes – compared to what you had for breakfast in Paris.
Dylan O’Brien plays Colin, an influencer for the company Danni also works for. Part of her envy stems from wanting the attention Colin receives. I will say O’Brien plays the typical stoner influencer who is always traveling and hanging with a new group of “friends” each week very well.
These main characters in my opinion represent three of the many sides of social media. We have Colin – promoting parties and drugs, making people envious of the never-ending nightlife that they will never have. Then Rowan, trying to make a change in the world and have a safe space for people to feel welcome and less alone. Lastly, of course, Danni. A woman so desperate for attention she doesn’t mind lying or using people to obtain her goal.
Not Okay contains tongue-in-cheek humor with many “what the fuck” moments. The movie is attentive to its message, constantly looping back to the dangers that come with lying on social media. Your career is quicker to end online these days than in the office. Also, deleting your account does not make everything disappear or erase people’s memories. So be vigilant of what you share online, and be careful what you fucking wish for.
Not Okay premieres exclusively on Hulu, Friday July 29th.