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Starring: Zoey Deutch, Dylan O’Brien, Karan Soni, Embeth Davidtz, Mia Isaac, Brennan Brown, Nadia Alexander, Tia Dionne Hodge, Negin Farsad, Sarah Yarkin
OUR RATING: ★★½
Hulu comedy written and directed by Quinn Shephard. Not Okay (2022) follows Danni Sanders (Zoey Deutch), an aimless aspiring writer, who is desperate for friends and fame, fakes a trip to Paris to boost her social media presence. However, when a terrifying incident takes place in the real world, it becomes a part of the imaginary trip and offers all she wants, making an unlikely friendship, Rowan (Mia Isaac), and getting the man of her dreams, Colin (Dylan O’Brien). But it’s only a matter of time before the facade cracks, and she learns the hard way that the Internet loves a takedown.
Our Favorite Quotes:'Your pain is your biggest asset.' - Rowan (Not Okay) Click To Tweet
Danni: Have you ever wanted to be noticed so badly, you didn’t even care what it was for? You just wake up every day thinking, “I want to be seen. I want to be important. I want to have purpose. I want to be known. I want to be loved. I want to matter.”
Danni: Yeah, well, let me tell you, be careful what you f***ing wish for.
Two Months Earlier
Susan: [referring to Danni’s article] And you don’t feel like it comes off a little tone deaf? Offensive even.
Danni: Can’t tone deaf be like a brand though?
Susan: Oh, no.
Danni: Isn’t that what Lena Dunham does?
Susan: You don’t want to be like Lena Dunham.
Danni: I don’t feel like you take me seriously as a writer.
Susan: That’s because you’re not a writer. You’re a photo editor.
Danni: You know, I made out with a girl at an NYU party once. So, I might be bi.
Harper: Not with those nails.
Danni: You guys are so lucky. You know, you have like a community. You have a parade. You have your own bowling night.
Larson: Yeah, being a minority is great.
Danni: Right? Well, have fun.
Harper: [as Danni leaves the elevator] I hate straight people.
Danni: So cool that you have a fan.
Colin: Oh, yeah. I got a bunch. That’s just one.
Colin: Good luck in Paris, Jenny. Good to meet you.
Colin: What’s up?
Danni: My name’s Danni.
Colin: No, it’s Colin. I’ll see you at work. Or I guess I won’t.
Part II: The Lie
Danni: [over phone] Hey, Mom. Guess what? I got invited to a writers retreat in Paris.
Danni: Yes, really.
Judith: It’s not a scam?
Danni: No, it’s not a scam. It has a website.
Danni: [posting on social media] “Starting my morning right. Now, where is my baguette?”
Part III: Oh F***
Judith: I just can’t believe you posted that photograph five minutes before the bombs hit. I mean, what if it had been five minutes later? Could you even imagine?
Danni: It’s a lot. It’s pretty unbelievable.
'If you're not okay, that's okay.' - Rowan (Not Okay) Click To Tweet
Part IV: What I Saw That Day
Susan: I know we’ve had our conflicts. And I’m so sorry I was ever going to fire you. But I want you to know, the fact that you’re standing right here…
Danni: You were going to fire me?
Susan: In front of me, instead of being curled up in a ball somewhere, mainlining gummy worms, which is what I would have been doing, that’s incredible. You are so strong. Isn’t she so strong, everybody?
[the office claps for her]
Kelvin: [to Danni] So you’re a psychic. Like the Lady of Galadhrim.
Julie: Or it was God.
Larson: Excuse me. This is a non-denominational workspace.
Julie: Well, I didn’t say which god.
Larson: Didn’t you?
Colin: I’m really glad you’re not dead.
Danni: Me too.
Danni: My name is Danni Sanders, and on April 10th, I almost died. But something, or someone, saved me. Maybe it was a guardian angel, or God, or Alan Rickman’s ghost, but I don’t think that I believe in any of that. More likely, it was me who saved me. Not that I believe in myself either. But if all of this has taught me something, it’s that maybe I should.
Linda: [at a trauma support group] Do you want to share anything about how you’re feeling, or your thoughts?
Danni: Oh. I was just hoping to listen today.
Linda: Of course. Of course, Danni. In your own time. We’re all survivors here.
Rowan: And I have had enough. Enough pain. Enough corruption. Enough death. Enough destruction. Enough sleepless nights, still watching my friends die. Enough of listening to our politicians lie! Enough!
Part V: Rowan
Danni: [referring to the support group] Therapy never really worked for me.
Rowan: It’s not therapy, okay? It’s better. It’s family.
Danni: So, listen, I was kind of hoping I might be able to get your advice on something. Full disclosure, I stalked you online. The poetry you do, it’s crazy. It sounds just like Hamilton.
Rowan: Yeah, it’s called spoken word.
Rowan: You know, actually, I wanted to take you here first. I think it could be super helpful. Before you write, you have to deal with why you’re feeling stuck.
Danni: Oh. Okay. So, and then we’ll go write.
Rowan: Yeah. Come on.
Danni: [as they enter a building called “Rage Space”] Okay. What is this place?
Rowan: How do you feel about breaking things?
Danni: What if I don’t feel angry?
Rowan: Alright, then what do you feel?
Danni: Well, I don’t know. Numb. Still numb.
Rowan: [to Danni] That is how I write. You have to attack it. That is what’s going to make people pay attention. Okay? No more scrolling past headlines. No more distractions. We do that with our truth. If you’re not okay, that’s okay. You know, as f***ed up as it sounds, your pain is your biggest asset.
'Sometimes a good place to start can be with a little self-reflection.' - Caroline Gotschall (Not Okay) Click To Tweet
Part VI: I Am Not Okay
Danni: You always hear these horror stories of people in the spotlight getting all this hate, but I don’t know. It doesn’t seem to be happening to me.
Rowan: Well, you should still be prepared if it does.
Danni: [to Rowan] Did you just say that Avril Lavigne is oldies?
Kelvin: [to Danni] I just wanted to say that your article gave me the courage to finally speak up to my DnD Discord. I told them about my trypophobia. It means I have a fear of small holes. Like this cookie is terrifying to me, but you’ve given me the strength to eat the cookie.
Young Publicist: [to Danni] Oh, my God. You’re the girl from the Paris attacks! Hashtag, I Am Not Okay.
'Be careful what you f***ing wish for.' - Danni (Not Okay) Click To Tweet
Danni: [referring to the party] This is crazy.
Colin: Yeah, you get used to it. What you got now like twenty K followers?
Danni: Thirty-two K, actually.
Colin: S**t. Okay.
Colin: If what happened to you ever happened to me, I don’t think I’d ever be okay.
Danni: Right now I’m okay.
Colin: I just wanted you to know like, if you weren’t, I’d like be there, you know.
Danni: I’m really, really glad that I came out tonight. I thought that group was going to be like depressing. It’s actually really fun.
Rowan: We try our best.
Danni: I don’t know. Being with you guys makes me realize what good people are.
Rowan: You’re a good person too.
Part VII: I’m A Good Person Now
Host: We are here with Danni Sanders, the girl of the moment, who rose to Internet fame after surviving the Paris bombings. You know her as the girl behind the hashtag, “I Am Not Okay.” But, girl. Right now, can I just say, you look more than okay. Are we getting a shot of this fit? So, you and your new bestie Rowan Aldren, you’ve been blowing up our Insta feeds.
Danni: You know, Harper, you could probably get your own office too if you just worked on that positivity a little.
Danni: [after Colin asks her out] I’m busy trying to make the world a better place, Colin.
Colin: I see what you’re doing. It’s like a hard-to-get kind of thing.
Danni: I’m going to go now.
Colin: Okay, you go. Go. You follow your dreams. I’ll see you later.
Danni: No, you won’t.
Harper: Colin, you’re from Maine.
Colin: Okay. Cool, Harper. Great. We all know information about each other.
Rowan: I am supposed to be setting an example, but I couldn’t. And I just, I feel so weak. And if I’m weak, then that just weakens what I stand for. And everything, everyone I fought for, it just, it all, it falls apart.
'Maybe one day I'll forgive you. But we will never be okay.' - Rowan (Not Okay) Click To Tweet
Danni: [to Rowan] Remember what you said to me? That the Internet loves to turn villains into victims. Said it the wrong way, didn’t I?
Danni: You went through my computer? Why would you do that?
Harper: You know what? Because I didn’t like you. I never trusted you. The way you acted when you came back from Paris was sus as hell. And, yeah, I was probably jealous that you got an office. But you know what I didn’t do? Lie about being in a f***ing terrorist attack to get one for myself!
Danni: I just was lying about a trip, that was it, to get Colin’s attention.
Harper: So what? You thought this was better than admitting you lied in a couple of Instagram stories?
Harper: [to Danni] I’m going to give you two options here. You can either wait for me to write an article exposing you, which would be really good for my career. Or I will give you the opportunity to tell everyone yourself. You have until Monday to make your decision. Oh, and by the way, whichever one you pick, you owe Rowan Aldren a f***ing apology.
Danni: I want to start off by saying there’s nothing that will make what I’m about to tell you okay. Two months ago, I informed you all that I had been selected for a writers retreat in Paris. I lied. I never went to Paris. I stayed home and faked photos to make it look like I did. All to impress a guy.
Danni: I was under the influence of marijuana at the time that I concocted this idea, which contributed to my poor decision-making. But still, I am taking full responsibility for my actions. I recognize now that this decision was a product of my loneliness and desire to find meaning in my life. And also my depression. I deeply regret my actions, and I’m committing myself to change. I feel that coming clean now is the first step towards that change. And, Rowan…
Danni: [pauses, then deletes Rowan’s name from her article] I promise you, I will do better.
Julie: [after reading Danni’s article] This is so f***ed up, isn’t it, Kevin?
Kelvin: White women.
Part VIII: I Don’t Get A Redemption Arc
Influencer: I mean, to be completely honest, Danni Sanders might actually be the worst person we’ve ever covered on this show, and we covered Hitler.
Judith: What are you going to do? How are you ever going to be able to get another job? Or find a husband. Or get approved by a co-op board?
Danni: I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.
Caroline Gotschall: [at an online shaming support group] Sometimes a good place to start can be with a little self-reflection. You know, speak on the new perspective that you’ve gained from this experience.
Danni: Right, yeah. I guess, what I’ve learned from this experience is that I don’t think that I like myself very much. I’m not sure that I ever really have. Which is funny, like considering my life.
Danni: Oh, my God. My life before this, it was so easy. So easy. No one stared at me in the street. No one doxed me on Twitter. No one gave a s**t. Which is why I lied. And now, now I hate myself so much more than I did before.
Quinn Shephard: So what? Are we supposed to feel bad for you? I mean, you’re saying you’ve learned. But at the end of the day, you’re a privileged white girl who thinks she’s the main character.
Danni: I don’t know if I’ve learned anything. I don’t know if I’m better. I don’t know if I’ve grown. I don’t know if I’ve learned. And I just, I don’t know. I don’t know.
Caroline Gotschall: Have you tried making amends? Directly to the people that you hurt. Not like over the Internet.
Part IX: Finale
Rowan: [at the spoken word event] If you’re not okay, that’s okay. That’s advice I gave. Six words that came out of my mouth that on that day you snatched up like a handout.
Rowan: When you looked into my eyes, you just saw another voice to co-opt? You know, for someone who’s not okay, you seem okay with quite a lot, actually. And while I was blindsided, why am I not surprised? Why is a story like yours something we read every other night? Why do people like you get movies on Netflix and Hulu, and people like me get told to sit tight and wait for change? No, you don’t know what that’s like!
Rowan: This is my time to take back the words that you stole from my mouth. You have never seen anything destroyed except yourself! And that is of your own doing. So, hell, no. I am not okay.
Rowan: I hope you realize that by doing this, you’ve only given me more to say. So maybe one day I’ll forgive you. But we will never be okay.
[as everyone applauds Rowan, Danni quietly slips out of the theater]