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‘Am I OK?’ Celebrates Late Blooming: At The Movies With Kasey

The promotional poster for Am I OK? features a close-up of Dakota Johnson’s face as she cries beneath her heavy bangs. It looks like one of those influencers who, for some reason, film themselves crying, often in their cars. I was curious, and pleasantly surprised to find a sensitive, funny film despite the silly poster.

On Max, Am I OK? focuses on Lucy (Dakota Johnson), whose life is shaken when her best friend, Jane (Sonoya Mizuno), is transferred to London. As Lucy explores questions about her sexual orientation and her mental health, Jane tries to help her get her life in order before she moves. The changes and conflicts lead to potentially irreparable tensions between the once-inseparable friends. The film also stars Jermaine Fowler as Jane’s silly boyfriend, Danny; Molly Gordon as a very obnoxious coworker; Sean Hayes as Jane’s boss; and Kiersey Clemons as Lucy’s maybe love interest, Brittany.

I thought Am I OK? would be just another “Millennials Are Sad Messes” movie, but instead it offers a tender a story about blooming late and the importance of friendship. The writing sometimes skims the surface of Lucy’s feelings but implies a depth of uncertainty that she cannot quite articulate.

At times, Lucy is so anxious and maudlin that I wondered if she was too pathetic, but Dakota Johnson gives her such a convincingly subtle edge that I wanted to see her come into her own and was curious what that would look like. As the boss babe best friend, Sonoya Mizuno is less sympathetic, and therefore her boyfriend helps balance the character. Danny seems too unserious for them to belong together, but his line deliveries always made me laugh. Kiersey Clemons’ performance as Brittany is so bubbly that it is hard to tell if she has feelings for Lucy or if she’s leading her on.

There are plenty of stories on the theme that it’s not too late; that you can find yourself later in life. Am I OK? gently depicts a woman not swimming from Cuba to Key West or doing anything dramatic—she’s just trying to find happiness in her own skin. Johnson’s understated performance grounds a sometimes zany narrative in the seriousness of Lucy’s endeavor and the depth of her discomfort.

Am I OK? was written by Lauren Pomerantz and directed by Stephanie Allynne and Tig Notaro. It runs 86 minutes and is rated R.

Back in 2020, I meant to read Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker but I never got around to it. So, when the docuseries Six Schizophrenic Brothers came out I decided that was my chance to catch up on the story of the Galvins, a seemingly perfect (if very large) family in which six of the twelve children were diagnosed with schizophrenia, one by one. I have to assume that the book is better than the show.

For viewers who do not intend to read the book, the documentary probably does a good enough job telling the Galvins’ tragic story. Set in Colorado Springs, the series uses the first episode to depict the family as a love match that grew into a large Catholic family of ten boys followed by two girls before things started to fall apart around them. As sad and scary as the story is, and as valuable as it is to have the perspectives of so many of the siblings, I question why director Lee Phillips chose to interview the living brothers with schizophrenia in what looks like a dungeon. Much of the final episode of the series discusses “normalizing” schizophrenia—I’d argue destigmatizing is a more accurate word—but the show still depicts the brothers living in what looks like Arkham Asylum when that is neither true nor destigmatizing.

That final episode shows the same argument about caring for these brothers twice rather than prioritizing a meaningful conclusion. The ending is so abrupt that I wrongly thought there was one more episode. It read very much like a reality TV production in that episode, instead of spending more time on the work the family did toward better understanding schizophrenia. The docuseries has an incredible story, but ultimately tells it in a shallow, sometimes insensitive way.

Six Schizophrenic Brothers was directed by Lee Phillips. It runs for four episodes on Max.

Finally, if you are still not watching The Bear, why are you depriving yourself of such a treat? The FX series (streaming on Hulu) returned for its third season after two years of near-perfect critical acclaim. Although I do not understand how this show fits in the comedy category for the Emmys, I laughed and held my breath as Carmy (Jeremy Allen White), Sydney (Ayo Edebiri), and their ragtag team continue to struggle with opening a fine dining restaurant in Chicago. The third season is not quite as excellent as the first two, taking a slower, more melancholy approach, but it is still one of the best shows on TV.

Kasey Butcher

Kasey Butcher

She is proud to be a Ft. Wayne native, a graduate of Homestead HS, Ball State University & Miami University. She became involved with journalism editor-in-chief for her high school magazine. She authors the "At The Movies with Kasey Butcher" review. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer