Searchlight Pictures’ Not Okay exhibits the out-of-touch influencer bubble

Not Okay premiered July 29 on Hulu starring Zoey Deutch as Danni Sanders, an attention seeker committed to gaining online fame.

Promotional Material Courtesy of Spotlight Pictures.

Not Okay premiered July 29 on Hulu starring Zoey Deutch as Danni Sanders, an attention seeker committed to gaining online fame.

On July 29, Searchlight Picture’s Not Okay premiered on Hulu, highlighting zillennial Danni Sanders (Zoey Deutch) who is quick to deceive the world in exchange for online fame. The product of 27-year-old director Quinn Shephard, Not Okay perfectly summarizes influencer culture and the desire to be popular. While Danni is intolerable, the film is anything but; wit and eye-opening humor shines throughout this thought-provoking movie. 

Danni lives a mundane, friendless life in New York City, but believes she has more to offer the world than simply editing photos for Depravity magazine. From the get-go, Danni is ridiculous; she presents her boss with an article about why her life as a privileged white girl is “so sad”. In the article, Danni complains that she feels disconnected from her peers due to missing 9/11 while on a cruise. This superficial outlook on an international tragedy is just the beginning of Danni’s foolishness.

Danni desires nothing more than to live the life of her influencer idols, such as her crush, @weedboiicolin (Dylan O’Brien). Colin’s platform is based on his drug use and playboy persona. Danni is attracted to his good looks, colossal vape clouds, and street style. Danni tries to impress Colin with fame by fabricating a fake writing retreat in Paris using her photo editing skills. At first, the pathetic yet harmless deception allows Danni to cement herself as a popular travel influencer. All is well until Danni posts that she is at the Arc de Triomphe minutes before it is bombed. Instead of taking accountability for her fake vacation, Danni falls deeper into falsehood, claiming she was a survivor of a terrorist attack. 

From its debut, the film’s purpose is clear: to mock influencer culture. Like many rising influencers, Danni takes advantage of her newfound platform as a “survivor”, befriending those who benefit her and throwing others to the curb. From her micro-trend fashion to her desire to be a minority in the influencer community, Danni is an unmistakably irritating character. Those who once mocked Danni flock to her as soon as she gains internet fame, and turn on her as soon as she loses it. This display of social media culture is as realistic as it is painfully embarrassing to watch.

Danni’s fake identity as a survivor leads her to meet actual survivors of bombings and shootings. These authentic activists are moving, specifically school-shooting survivor Rowan Aldren (Mia Isaac). Rowan proves that while the Dannis of Gen-Z blur the line between truth and fiction, there are others fighting for what is right.

Deutch portrays a self-absorbed product of the internet perfectly. Isaac’s emotional performance is powerful with a clear visual insight into what real PTSD and its triggers look like. O’Brien’s chill yet inconsiderate attitude demonstrates how easily personality flaws are overlooked in the case of a pretty face. 

The details in behavior, fashion, and slang dialect show the intricate work put in to mimic the current social-digital scene. Danni and Colin’s outfits are fast fashion styles that look straight out of 2019. Shot on location, New York City is the pinnacle of influencer goals. 

Not Okay displays the pathetic world of influencers and how privileged individuals can steal, market, and profit off of others’ trauma and experiences. Not Okay’s pop-culture infused character study is worthy of 5 out of 5 feathers for its applaudable acting and intriguingly infuriating storyline.