NOT OKAY is a brilliant satire on how childhood obsession with social media can have dire consequences. As Danni, Zoey Deutch pulls off a performance that turns in no time, going from comedic to serious and back again. It’s refreshing to see a film take a bold stand against the youth culture so much pushed by the media. Unfortunately, NOT OKAY has a lot of strong foul language, a gratuitous sex scene, drug addiction, gay references, and a politically correct anti-gun message. Thus, extreme caution is recommended.
Dominant worldview and other worldview content/elements:
A strong moral worldview satirizes young people’s narcissistic obsession with themselves and social media, then takes a serious and surprising twist that teaches a lesson about the importance of honesty and the consequences of deception endemic to the main girl, the main woman wants to apologize for her wrongs even if nobody wants to hear it, there is a strong message against lying and vanity/pride, and the film also satirizes young self- important in a bold and hilarious way, but there’s a politically correct anti-gun subplot and the main character works at a place where other workers identify as gay, but they turn out to be too mean and vapid, especially when she admit to lying
44 obscenities (mostly “f” words), one profanity of Jesus and seven mild profanities of God
Firecrackers go off to disrupt an anti-gun rally, traumatizing female keynote speakers who run away crying in dismay, a woman slaps a man and some threats of violence, plus occasional brief news footage of the aftermath of a terrorist attack
A fully clothed heterosexual couple are shown having hot sex while standing in a public restroom (the woman later ignores the guy) and overt homosexual references
Alcohol consumption :
Alcohol consumption and drunkenness
Smoking and/or drug use and abuse:
A young man constantly vapes in the multiple scenes, vaping is satirically presented as an odious habit and is not glamorous, the young man promotes marijuana use, marijuana use occurs, and the main character mixes a pill on prescription with alcohol in one scene;
An extremely vain young woman is so obsessed with herself that she no longer cares or cares about others (although that eventually changes, which is a powerful final lesson), a woman lies about being at Paris on vacation to become a social media celebrity, then is forced to lie much more when an act of terrorism hits this town and her family and friends are worried about her, the woman lies to achieve and maintain fame and exploits an anti-gun activist and becomes very close to the activist and ends up going on national television with her at a rally, the woman learns her lesson and wants to apologize and make amends with people but always ends up reviled and eventually discovers that the girl lead she exploited will never give her the chance to make peace.
NOT OKAY is a satirical comedy on Hulu about a vain and self-centered photo editor at a pop culture magazine called “Depravity” who invents fake photo stories to increase her popularity at work and her online social media. NOT OKAY is a wise and brilliant satire on the many ways that a youthful obsession with social media can have dire consequences, but it features a lot of strong foul language, a depicted sex scene, drug addiction, gay references and a politically correct anti-gun subtext. .
The film follows the story of Danni Sanders (Zoey Deutch), who opens the film tearing up while scouring the internet and social media for countless hateful and negative posts against her. After saying, “Be careful what you wish for,” the film goes back in time to reveal what led to that clueless opening moment.
Danni is a photo editor at a pop culture magazine called “Depravity” (which in itself is a one-time critique of the garbage that’s being spewed at young people as news these days). She is incredibly vain and self-centered, and no staff member is her friend, even though she walks into the office each day with an insane level of confidence.
The reality is that Danni has a low-level job, styling photos for magazine visuals, and lives in a small, sparsely furnished apartment in New York City. Inspired by another person’s vacation photos on social media, she decides to cook up a lavish make-believe vacation – a glamorous jaunt through Paris, designed solely to grab attention.
Using his Photoshop manipulation skills, Danni offers the trip of a lifetime online and quickly builds a following while impressing his parents, who live across town. Everything seems to be going wonderfully, until one morning she wakes up to find CNN presenting the latest news that a series of terrorist bombs have exploded across Paris.
Suddenly, Danni realizes that she is in big trouble, because everyone will be asking her for proof of her experiences as a witness to the bombings and their aftermath. Her parents are terrified for her well-being and even her co-workers are worried about her for the first time.
Danni must plan a way to “return” from Paris while designing the stories and images she will share of the aftermath of the attacks. Remarkably, his ability to be downright dishonest pays off, a skill Danni developed by viewing his daily life through a delusional mindset of grandeur.
Danni’s parents revere her comeback, her co-workers applaud her and her boss tells her to feel free to take days off or leave early whenever she wants to “help with the healing”. Danni also persuades her boss to let her write a first-person essay about her experiences and the life lessons she is supposed to have learned.
This essay explodes in popularity online, as she launches the hit hashtag #notokay, and people of all types apply the tag to share their own stories of resilience. Danni even joins a trauma support group, just to capture the attention of truly traumatized people and perfect how to sell his fake grief.
Danni discovers that a high school girl named Rowan (Mia Isaac) is part of the group. Rowan is a nationally known anti-gun rally leader who is caught up in her cause because her own sister was the victim of a school shooting. Danni immediately interferes in Rowan’s life, both to have a good friend for the very first time and, ultimately, to feed on his fame by insinuating himself into Rowan’s gatherings.
Trouble awaits, however, as a fellow writer and colleague is upset by Danni’s sudden assignments and so decides to investigate his suspicions that Danni has never been to Paris.
Can Danni survive his lies and deception without getting caught? Can she also continue to successfully manipulate Rowan?
The way these questions are answered is inventive and fun at first, before writer-director Quinn Shepherd deftly shifts the film’s tone and message in a serious direction that surprises until the end. Its script and direction are brilliant, and it manages to keep the anti-gun rally and discussion scenes from being brutal, and instead uses them to give humanity to the issue of school shootings.
Zoey Deutch is a revelation as Danni, as she pulls off a performance that constantly shifts from comedic to serious and back again. It’s been one of the sharpest acting turns in many years.
Bonus points to Deutch and Shepherd for their incredibly sharp satire on trashy pop culture, vaping, millennial self-absorption, social media and more. It’s really refreshing to see a film take a bold stand against youth culture pushed by so much media. Incredibly, Shepherd had to add a sarcastic warning card at the start warning viewers of an unlikable female lead because, in test audiences, young women would have been triggered by seeing a villainess as the lead.
Unfortunately, there are frequent obscenities (about 30 F-words and a few more) and a brief sex scene in NOT OKAY. Tone can affect the severity of foul language. Here, it’s part of the tasteless lingo of young adult characters and matches the airy use of it that many millennials engage in. NOT OKAY also came drug addiction, gay references and a politically correct anti-gun message.
Therefore, MOVIEGUIDE® recommends extreme caution.