A Review of Am I OK?: Friendship and Self-Discovery

The exploration of friendship and self-discovery forms the backbone of many films, but few manage to capture the nuances of these themes as poignantly as “Am I OK?” Directed by Tig Notaro and Stephanie Allynne, this film dives into the life-changing revelations and enduring bonds between two best friends, Lucy and Jane. With Dakota Johnson’s compelling portrayal of Lucy, the movie brings forth a narrative that is both heartwarming and relatable.

A Tale of Two Friends

Lucy (Dakota Johnson) and Jane (Sonoya Mizuno) have been inseparable for years, their friendship so deeply rooted that Jane can effortlessly recite Lucy’s usual order at their favorite diner: a veggie burger and sweet potato fries. This familiarity signifies the comfort and stability they find in each other. However, this seemingly trivial detail becomes a poignant metaphor for the changes that are about to unfold. When Lucy deviates from her usual order and chooses a tomato and spinach omelet instead, it marks the beginning of a journey towards self-discovery and transformation that will test the strength of their bond.

The Directorial Touch

Notaro and Allynne’s directorial debut is marked by its subtlety and sensitivity. Their approach to storytelling is refreshingly gentle, allowing the characters and their emotions to take center stage. While the film does attempt some broader humor, it is the quiet, intimate moments that truly resonate. These instances, such as the hurt flickering across Jane’s face at Lucy’s unexpected order, add layers to the narrative, making it feel real and relatable. The directors’ ability to capture the authenticity of these moments showcases their potential and sets a strong foundation for their future work in filmmaking.

Dakota Johnson’s Authentic Performance

At the heart of “Am I OK?” is Dakota Johnson’s portrayal of Lucy. Known for her ability to imbue her characters with a sense of genuine authenticity, Johnson shines in this role. Her performance is understated yet powerful, bringing depth to Lucy’s internal struggles and gradual awakening. Johnson’s ability to convey vulnerability and strength in equal measure makes Lucy’s journey compelling. As the camera lingers on her expressions, viewers are drawn into her world, experiencing her joys and sorrows alongside her. Johnson’s portrayal is a testament to her skill as an actress, elevating the film’s emotional impact.

A Late Coming-Out Story

“Am I OK?” diverges from typical coming-out narratives by focusing on a protagonist who is 32, rather than in their teenage years or early twenties. This choice adds a unique dimension to the story, emphasizing that self-discovery is not bound by age. The film’s writer, Lauren Pomerantz, draws from her own experiences, having come out at the age of 34. This personal connection infuses the screenplay with authenticity and poignancy, making Lucy’s journey both specific and universal. The film captures the complexities of coming out later in life, including the fear of disrupting established relationships and the challenge of embracing one’s true identity amidst societal expectations.

The Emotional Core

The emotional resonance of “Am I OK?” is evident in several key scenes. One particularly moving passage involves Lucy’s interactions with a straight woman who toys with her emotions. The pain and confusion Lucy experiences are palpable, reflecting the often tumultuous process of coming to terms with one’s sexuality. This scene, along with others, highlights the film’s ability to balance humor with heartfelt moments, creating a rich and textured narrative.

Lucy and Jane’s Diverging Paths

The film also delves into the professional and personal changes that both Lucy and Jane face. Jane, the more career-focused of the two, receives an offer to establish a new office in London, a significant opportunity that comes with its own set of challenges. Her boyfriend’s willingness to move with her underscores the stability in her personal life, in stark contrast to Lucy’s burgeoning uncertainties. Lucy’s reaction to Jane’s news—her unconvincing enthusiasm masked by repeated declarations of “Awesome!”—reveals the depth of her dependence on their friendship and her fear of change.

Navigating New Relationships

As Lucy begins to explore her sexuality, she encounters Brittany, a flirtatious masseuse at the spa where she works. Brittany’s unabashed interest in Lucy encourages her to step out of her comfort zone. Their interactions are a blend of excitement and trepidation, capturing the thrill and anxiety of new relationships. However, the outcome of this relationship is ultimately disheartening, leaving Lucy feeling more isolated. Her estrangement from Jane during this period exacerbates her loneliness, as Jane has always been her confidante and support system.

The Climax and Resolution

The film’s climax sees both women grappling with their individual challenges. Jane faces a last-minute obstacle to her move to London, a plot point that feels somewhat contrived but serves to bring the friends back together. This reunion is both cathartic and reaffirming, highlighting the resilience of their friendship. The resolution, which sees them back at their favorite diner, emphasizes the enduring nature of their bond. The final message of the film is simple yet profound: friendships, like people, evolve over time but can endure and adapt.

A Month of Female Buddy Comedies

“Am I OK?” arrives in a landscape that has recently seen a surge in female buddy comedies. Unlike Pamela Adlon’s “Babes,” which leans heavily into raunchy humor, “Am I OK?” opts for a more soulful and tender approach. This distinction sets it apart, appealing to audiences who appreciate character-driven stories with emotional depth. The film’s blend of humor and heart makes it a standout in this genre, offering a refreshing perspective on female friendship and personal growth.

Conclusion

In “Am I OK?”, Tig Notaro and Stephanie Allynne craft a touching narrative that celebrates the complexities of friendship and the journey of self-discovery. Dakota Johnson’s authentic performance anchors the film, making Lucy’s story both compelling and relatable. The film’s focus on a late coming-out story adds a unique dimension, reminding viewers that it’s never too late to embrace one’s true self. With its heartfelt moments and subtle humor, “Am I OK?” is a testament to the enduring power of friendship and the importance of staying true to oneself. As we leave Lucy and Jane back at their diner table, we are reminded that while life may bring changes, the bonds we hold dear can adapt and thrive, just like Lucy’s evolving order from a veggie burger to an omelet.

Gaurav Manral

I am from nainital, Uttrakhand, India and like to write different type of entertainment news like bollywood, Hollywood, South Indian movies, Life Style etc.