"Not Okay" and the importance of warnings.
"Smart move, turning that fear into clickbait"
Zoey Deutch, Mia Isaac, and Dylan O'Brien play the main characters in 2022's Not Okay movie.
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According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, to warn is "to give notice to beforehand especially of danger or evil" and to predict is "to declare or indicate in advance". A warning could serve as a prediction and a prediction could serve as a warning of an inevitable outcome approaching. Documentaries aim to inform, educate and warn people. Many times it could be entertaining. Not Okay is a satirical social commentary film, self-aware and effective in use. A lie to impress a fellow writer about going on a writers' retreat to Paris but decides to fake it as it never existed and a trip would be expensive is a summary of the plot. We are informed about the dynamic nature of social media through an experience with Danni Sanders (Zoey Deutch).
Another warning about social media is the docudrama, The Social Dilemma. Both approach the topic of social media from different angles but with a similar intention. The Social Dilemma focuses on the existence of the different platforms, the purpose of the platforms and the negative impacts of them while Not Okay focuses on the curated culture of social media, the transfer of that culture into real life and its negative impact. Both highlight the mental strain on and exposure of people. One is more comical with a self-aware and almost indulgent perspective.
Not Okay has absolutely no subtlety using an opening song stating "I'm the worst, you're gonna hate me…", having a disclaimer about an unlikeable female character, the inclusion of real online personalities and using the line "it's your favourite writer, socialite, scammer…". Many personalities have scammed their fans intentionally and unintentionally, so that was an interesting inclusion. Unlike The Social Dilemma, Not Okay leaves you feeling quite just rather than terrified of the effect of social media. It straddles the line of just and permitted as we explore the lives of 2022 companies and influencers. It shows the self-righteous character many adopt in the midst of the ironic nature of inequality faced on all levels.
We see Danni Sanders as a slightly optimistic and opportunistic photo editor aspiring to be one of the writers in her workplace, Depravity. Her written work is criticized for focusing on her questioned sadness while stating 9/11 was a real bonding moment for most but she missed out on it. Everyone has FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) but she elevated it to new heights and disregards her fellow photo editors so much so she does not bother learning Kevin is actually Kelvin (Karan Soni).
She actually insists on the prior name which is more troubling as much as she tries to persuade Harper (Nadia Alexander) and Larson (Dash Perry)to join Queer bowling despite being Heterosexual (as it seems). She brings up an experience she believes might be acceptable to pass as LGBTQ but is discouraged, however, they eventually invite her using her sentiments to cheer her up from a terrifying experience.
Colin(Dylan O'Brien) is a writer at Depravity, Danni's crush, and the reason she lied, goes on the adventure of creating a writers' retreat experience and followed through. Her determination to impress him or at least get his attention to properly know her name which she achieves as he follows her in the midst of things diverted her from being honest. He is also an example of cultural appropriation. This could be seen by some as an adaptation to fit in, however, we are made known by Harper that Colin grew up in Maine which switches his adopted accent and use of AAVE (African American Vernacular English )to his regular accent.
This movie highlights so many things, including the hypocrisy of praising humans online but being disrespectful in real life. The new Matcha store in Danni's neighbourhood had an "influencers eat free" sign and used it to push a homeless person away. Danni gives the same homeless person an influencer takeaway bag which she thought was a selfless gesture but had nothing useful in there. These make people re-evaluate everything such as the scams people do to get ahead or to present a successful front online, adapting people's trauma and turning "villains into victims" through some conceived form of justification.
This movie parodies zillennials and Tik-Tok users as well as highlights mental health. Danni had a lack of logic when she decided to do this as she blames numerous factors but had a lot of planning. Danni's character is interesting as she takes her happy pills and does Tik-Tok gestures during conversations probably as a coping mechanism. She had pre-existing mental struggles before the falling out of her online adoration but worsened due to the hate and extremity.
The world has always appreciated people but with ease of internet access, the focus on fans, adoration and attention is alarming. Danni could be seen as a mockery of triggering real issues (as she is to the other survivors)and this movie shows that very well. Seeing the suspected bomber and hearing a countdown could be stemmed from a guilty conscience.
In Danni's family home, her room has a poster of Natalie Portman in Black Swan. This could be interesting as she craved perfection through love, writing and balance in her life. She felt no one cared or understood her, but had no respect or care for others. She developed a selective order which widened as she grew but all the attention she got as a survivor would only be as artificial as the switched people online who exposed her apartment and insulted her.
The present era of everyone wins regardless is not necessarily bad depending on personal values but is shown in the movie through the online shaming group. This group is a safe space for people shamed off the internet for doing less than exemplary things but given the opportunity to change and remain sane. The phrase "the end justifies the means" at almost any cost is no longer appreciated as there will be vivid and extreme consequences as shown by her harassment online and in person. We see how quickly it is to rise and fall as an internet sensation and the life of influencers at their events. Rowan's(Mia Isaac) words at the end were necessary and excellent.
The first time I ever saw people faking a trip online was in this 2019 video faking a trip to London from Los Angeles:
Video Credit- As/Is on YouTube
That was after I saw this 2018 video of someone pretending to be someone else. ChristianAdamG pretended to be Travis Scott caught cheating.
Video Credit-ChristianAdamG on YouTube
In his description box, he said: "never believe anything you see on the internet :) (DISCLAIMER: this video was NOT made to intentionally hurt Travis Scott, Kylie Jenner or the entire Kardashian family in ANY way shape or form)". He warned people of the swift and believable nature of things on the internet.
These are often regarded as social experiments either intentionally as tests or unintentionally for fun. Many of these are also seen as low risk with possible high gain in the best instance.
We have had various warnings for many years, in many forms and for different things. These include; climate change, the rise of robots or rather the decline of the human race, increased classism, different ways of life and more. This includes the current rise of Artificial Intelligence influencers taking positions many humans would be honoured and elated to have as spoken about by LovelyTi.
In films like Not Okay and Don't look up, a more approachable direction is taken through satire because not everyone enjoys documentaries or warnings. Therefore, using this lens helps make it more palatable as comedy is a comforter that still carries truth and knowledge.
After I wrote on Don't Look up a while ago, I got sent this tweet referring to the actualization of the movie:
Don't look up, Ready player one, Not Okay and others should be watched and re-watched especially now to gain the importance of it. Life imitates art or Art imitates life, wherever you stand on that fence, information is as just as important as what you do with it.
You can watch a full review of the movie below:
Video Credit-Amanda the Jedi on YouTube
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About the Creator
I write on various things: social issues, well-being, cinema and out of curiosity. For contact and all other things, click this. Inactive.
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