AM I OK? That is the question I asked myself as I took stock of my entire life after watching the incredible film, directed by Tig Notaro and Stephanie Allynne. The answer is no, I am not okay because this film spoke to me in more ways than I thought possible. AM I OK? is a reflection on life in your 30s, and being in that weird age where you are supposed to be a self-realized, fully functioning adult… but you’re not. It is also a love letter to the power of female friendships. Quite frankly, it attacked me personally.
32-year-old Lucy (Dakota Johnson) and Jane (Sonoya Mizuno) have been inseparable best friends for years. They are so close, they know each other’s restaurant orders, right down to the sweet potato fries. But when Jane is offered a promotion that would transfer her to London, it completely rocks Lucy’s world. Lucy’s anxiety about her best friend moving without her gives way to a realization that she isn’t being honest about her own sexuality identity. But with so much change on the horizon, is now the right time to really explore her feelings? Things only get more complicated when Lucy develops a crush on her coworker Brittany (Kiersey Clemons), but it is unclear if her feelings are reciprocated. Um, hello!? It’s Dakota Johnson!
Lauren Pomerantz’s charming, heartfelt script is a kick in the gut for women in general, especially a 30-something like me. I found it completely relatable, even in the script’s more outrageous moments. The characters feel grounded in reality, like familiar members of my friend group. Pomerantz does so much in the film’s under 90 minute runtime, particularly creating a complex, multidimensional arc for Lucy, which gives Johnson a lot to seek her teeth into.
Dakota. Johnson. Cannot. Miss. I am officially starting a movement for Sundance to rename itself Dakotafest this year. Between her performance in this film and CHA CHA REAL SMOOTH, I don’t know how you *don’t* dedicate the Festival to her. I love when Dakota takes on comedic roles, and in AM I OK? she literally had me belly laughing throughout the film. It reminded me of her roles in BEN AND KATE and HOW TO BE SINGLE. Not only that, she has charm for daysssss and makes her character incredibly sympathetic; I rooted for her the whole time and beyond anything, wanted her to be okay in the end. Plus, her chemistry with Mizuno—and frankly, everyone else in the film—really makes it seem like they have been best friends for years, which is key to the rising tension.
It is clear that AM I OK? was created by women, for women. It is a beautiful celebration of close female relationships, a theme that is probably my favorite to watch on-screen, but is sadly not shown enough. The film is also an entertaining triumph for first time feature directors Notaro and Allynne. And more importantly, it is unapologetically authentic through and through.
My Review: A-/B+