For me, anything with Zoey Deutch is a must-see. In Not Okay, Deutch plays Danni Sanders, a struggling writer who lies about going to Paris only to post a photoshopped picture of her at the Arc Du Triomphe minutes before a terrorist attack at the monument. Rather than confess, she leans into her identity as a survivor, drawing the admiration of some coworkers such as sleazy influencer Colin (Dylan O’Brien), and the suspicion of others, like Harper (Nadia Alexander). In a support group for survivors, Danni befriends Rowan (Mia Isaac), a teenager famous for her activism after surviving a school shooting.
Not Okay is Ingrid Goes West meets The Woman Who Wasn’t There. It seems to set up tension between people using their platform for good and those who use it to get famous, but it ultimately leans more into the relationship between Rowan and Danni than into making a point. The writing, however, is funny and poignant. I have to give the writer Quinn Shephard props for a subtle line during the opening scene in which Danni’s editor warns her not to write about “9/11 FOMO.”
Deutch delivers a comedic, cringey performance. She hits all the right notes as the drama unfolds, but the role hardly feels like an artistic stretch for her. As Roan, Mia Isaac practically walks away with the whole movie. Not Okay is worth watching for their performances opposite each other and its bonkers, if not entirely creative, storyline. I appreciated the colorful makeup and costumes, too.
Not Okay was written and directed by Quinn Shephard. It runs 100 minutes and is rated R for language, drug use, and some sexual content.
Over on Netflix, Look Both Ways follows two timelines for Natalie (Lili Reinhart, looking a lot like Brittany Murphy) and her friends Gabe (Danny Ramirez) and Cara (Aisha Dee) after she takes a pregnancy test the weekend of their college graduation. In one timeline, she moves to Los Angeles with Cara and pursues a career as an animator. In the other, she raises her daughter with Gabe and pursues a career as an animator.
Everyone, including my mom, is talking about this movie. Essentially, Look Both Ways is a Millennial take on Sliding Doors. Reinhart’s doe-eyed performance anchors the movie, and she convincingly plays Natalie through the difficulties of both stories. Although the consequences of Natalie’s choices land in unrealistically ideal ways, the movie’s message that a person’s success does not depend on a single moment—that either way, Natalie would be okay—is refreshing without trying to tie everything up in too neat a conclusion. Look Both Ways is a sweet, enjoyable movie that may not change any lives, but might make some people feel better about their choices.
Look Both Ways was written by April Prosser and directed by Wanuri Kahiu It runs 1 hour 50 minutes and is rated TV-14.
Also on Hulu, FX’s The Patient features Steve Carell as Alan Strauss, a therapist who is taken hostage by Sam (Domhnall Gleeson), a patient who demands help overcoming homicidal urges. While exploring Alan’s past with his wife, Beth (Laura Niemi), and their son, Ezra (Andrew Leeds), the show chronicles his hostage situation. As of this writing, The Patient has aired two episodes, but it looks a lot like Misery so far.
In a culture that sometimes portrays going to therapy as a panacea for all social ills, The Patient asks if therapy works for everyone or if some, like, you know, serial killers, might be beyond psychiatry’s influence. Domhnall Gleeson’s portrayal of Sam seems drawn more from tropes about school shooters than serial killers, with his muted affect and emo hair, but his monologues hint at volatile anger underneath. Meanwhile, Steve Carell also gives a muted performance, as has become trademark for his dramatic acting. I hope he is not this muted for 10 episodes.
Although The Patient has some creepy imagery and a suspenseful premise, it seems arbitrarily split into 22-minute episodes, as if to fit a specific order from the network. The first two episodes, dropped at the same time, could have easily been a single episode. I fear that the editing is going to hold it back, but I will be watching to find out.
The Patient was created by Joel Fields and Joseph Weisberg. It runs for 10 episodes and is rated TV-MA.
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