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Hulu's 'Not Okay' is more than okay

Zoey Deutch's performance in "Not Okay" is a great piece of an even better movie. – Photo by Not Okay / Twitter

“Not Okay” is Hulu’s newest take on the dark comedy-drama genre, and it definitely did not disappoint.

If you want to unpack the new hit movie making waves and opening taboo conversations, keep reading. Warning, there are spoilers ahead.

The movie follows Danni Sanders, portrayed by Zoey Deutch, a 20-something-year-old woman in New York City, who’s desperately trying to be loved by those around her, even though she is genuinely awful.

Danni is self-centered, arrogant and tone-deaf, all of which are some of the worst qualities a person can have. She constantly forgets the name of her coworker who sits next to her every day, and even goes as far as to say that she wishes she was present during the tragedy of 9/11.

As the movie develops, we learn that Danni, a photo editor for online publication Depravity, has dreams of becoming a writer. She also has a massive crush on her coworker and social media influencer, Colin, portrayed by Dylan O’Brien.

Danni eventually brainstorms the idea that she’s going to fake going on a writer’s retreat in Paris, editing pictures of herself in her Brooklyn apartment to post to her Instagram account. This is where everything goes downhill.

Danni begins to grow an Instagram following, including a follow from her crush, Colin, so she continues her lie to impress him. She posts an edited photo of herself in front of the Arc de Triomphe and goes to sleep, completely unaware of the hell that would inadvertently break loose.

Danni wakes up to news that there were a number of terrorist bombings at several French landmarks, including the Arc de Triomphe, at the exact time she was supposedly there per her Instagram post.

Here’s where things go wrong: Instead of doing what any normal person with a conscience would do, she decides to continue her lie, updating her Instagram followers and her parents that she is in fact okay and was not injured in the attack, even though she was asleep in her Brooklyn apartment the whole time.

Danni returns to work the next day and is greeted with immense amounts of sympathy from her coworkers and boss that previously hated her. Her boss offers her the opportunity to write an article about her experience, which she quickly takes advantage of, leading to her story going viral. Overnight, Danni becomes an internet sensation, all due to a genuine tragedy that she fully did not experience.

As the movie develops, Danni continues to dig herself deeper and deeper into the hole she created for herself in the first place. She attends a support group for trauma survivors and builds a relationship with Rowan, a school shooting survivor and gun-safety activist, portrayed by Mia Isaac.

As her relationship with Rowan continues to grow, so does her Instagram following. She’s slowly becoming a full-blown influencer, garnering love and support from her thousands of followers, including Colin.

Even though she’s living her dream in her waking life, her nightmares continuously haunt her. She begins to envision the Paris bomber in her sleep, leading to hallucinations of the terrorist in her day-to-day life.

As her Instagram following and relationship with Colin continue to expand, her coworker Harper, portrayed by Nadia Alexander, grows suspicious of Danni and her sudden rise to social media fame.

Harper eventually gets ahold of Danni’s laptop, which allows her to see Danni’s photoshopped pictures first-hand. She unexpectedly shows up at Danni’s apartment, confronting her about her lies and giving Danni an ultimatum: to either come clean herself or else Harper will do it for her.

Danni decides to come clean herself, leading to her whole life falling apart — which is completely deserved. She receives mountains of online hate, gets fired from her job, receives death threats, loses her friendship with Rowan and is forced out of her apartment due to being doxxed, among other repercussions.

Overall, I found this movie to be agonizingly phenomenal. While some of the dialogue can be cringey at times, it almost feels purposeful, painting a picture of the highly digital world we live in today.

The movie also creates an internal struggle for the viewer, adding to the overall idea behind the movie. As the audience, you’re conditioned to hate Danni as a result of her absolutely repulsive behavior and lies, but by the end, you begin to feel slightly for her, as no one deserves to receive death threats and be doxxed out of their home.

The writing behind this movie is so brilliant because it has created a character that is so unbelievably unlikeable, yet her motives for lying develop due to feelings that many people feel or have felt in their lives. 

“Not Okay” perfectly illustrates feelings of antagonizing loneliness and a desire to be loved, while concocting one of the most unlikeable and awful main characters in recent years. The combination of Danni’s awful behaviors, a taboo yet important storyline, and a phenomenal performance by Zoey Deutch and the whole cast make “Not Okay” a must-watch film in 2022.

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