Movies that are about getting famous too fast and sacrificing integrity to get something new – but sophomore Queen Shepard”Not okay,” which premiered on Hulu on July 29, gives the genre a new context. In the age of TikTok and social media, reach has never been more accessible, and it is possible for anyone to be famous as long as they have a story.
Danny Sanders (Zoe Deutch), an unfriendly photo editor working for a digital magazine called Depravity, decides to use her Photoshop skills by posting photos from a fake trip to Paris. She manages to get the attention of Colin (Dylan O’Brien) in her workplace, a perennial touching influencer who acts as an embarrassing comedian relief. But the fake photo of herself at the Arc de Triomphe, which she posts just minutes before a devastating terrorist attack, sends her lying down a disastrous downward spiral. After sending disturbing messages from family members and Instagram, Danny makes the decision to pretend she was present at the bombing rather than admitting her mistake. From there, her fame skyrocketed, which led to a promotion at work and an unsatisfactory bond with Colin. In the end, she takes it too far and inevitably gets caught, and her fame turns scandalous.
Danny’s character is meant to be as hated as possible. Almost every decision you make is completely untenable, and you experience no character growth, let alone a recovery arc. Her worst crime is attending a support group for terror attack survivors to make her story more believable and to believe Rowan Aldrin (Mia Isaac), a young anti-gun activist who survived the school shooting that killed her older sister. Danny approaches the girl to get rid of her fame, and even as she begins to become really fond of her, she has no real remorse for her lies until her shady co-worker threatens to expose her. Even at the end of the movie, she admitted that she doesn’t feel like she’s learned anything.
Herein lies Shepherd’s film’s ultimate question: Danny Cree is in every imaginable way, and every scene requires the audience to scoff and throw popcorn at the screen; So when death threats and hateful insults start rolling into Danny’s mail, should the same audience feel sympathy?
The internet often thinks of celebrities more than they deserve. Aided and spurred by the rapid spread of social media across the globe, fame is so instant and so all-consuming these days that ordinary people rise to idol-like status before fans even get a chance to get to know them. Since viral comes so suddenly, it should come as no surprise that it is equally surprising when this fame falters. If the backlash for mistakes made by celebrities is subtle and constructive, speed won’t be an issue. But of course, online criticism is never like that.
Danni represents the iconic brand that modern social media has spawned: both fault-prone or completely ill-equipped to handle the rapid shift from constant praise to outright hate. Danny’s case is extreme, because she’s actually guilty of everything people accuse her of, but the movie still does a good job of charting the disastrous rise and fall of fame in the internet age.
Although at first it may seem as if Danny gets everything that comes to her and more, the consequences of her actions eventually become ineffective in teaching her any kind of lessons. Although her parents are unhappy with her, she is able to return to the comfortable home in which she grew up at no cost, and it seems that as long as she wears a baseball cap, she is largely – albeit inexplicably – unrecognizable in places the public. Danny’s wealth, whiteness, and charisma all protect her from the repercussions she might receive were it not for her privilege, making it more difficult to invoke any sympathy for her. She is unhappy, but has always been unhappy; Now she has an even better reason to be.
It’s unclear whether “Not Alright” is what Sheppard tells the tale of a warning monkey’s paw in a modern way or just tests how much it can make audiences hate Zoey Deutch. Either way, the movie is undeniable to watch. Newcomer Isaac gives a serious standout performance as the film’s only lovable character, but even lovable actors like Deutch and O’Brien play obnoxious and sometimes painful characters. “Not Okay” is 103 minutes of pure negative awkwardness, and while Shephard leaves whether or not he’ll feel sorry for Danni to the viewer, the exceptionally kind Rowan isn’t able to forgive her.
Not Alright’s style, dialogue, and plot make the film perfectly representative of the current phase of the Internet (or perhaps the Internet of 2021). The “Getting Famous” story is nothing new, but Sheppard has done a great job of contextualizing the classic tale at a particular cultural moment. With Danny Technicolor Avant Basic Wardrobe And the ubiquitous pop culture references, “Not Alright” seem a little outdated, and it’s impossible to say whether this time capsule from the movie will be considered amusing or heartbreaking in ten years’ time. Choices like Danni’s thick blonde front lines might comment that the trend cycle moves just as quickly as the fame cycle. Or maybe Shepherd just wanted to embarrass the internet by raising a mirror to him.