I’m good? review: Dakota Johnson excels in an unevenly presented film | Sundance 2022

TOm I OK?, from married directors Tig Notaro and Stephanie Allynne, tries to put a new spin on the first movie, a subgenre that often focuses on teenagers or goes against the conservative family; Think of Love, Simon, but I’m a cheerleader, an outcast, or the happiest season. The 86-minute film, written by Lauren Pomerantz (a longtime writer for Ellen DeGeneres’s daytime show), combines the bittersweet revelations of coming out at age 30, years after many flourished in an accepting environment, with the spiky tenderness of an intimate, platonic female friendship

Jane (Sonoya Mizuno) and Lucy (Dakota Johnson) are longtime best friends and partners in crime; it is not revealed for how long, but it was long enough for Jane to know the kind of car Lucy wanted in high school (a Volvo) and for Lucy. to read Jane’s dispassionate emotions through a tremor in her voice. The two are in their early 30s and more half of each other than anyone else, including Jane’s sweet and deferential boyfriend, Danny (Jermaine Fowler). We see them facing each other at their favorite dining table, a yin-yang in the same bed, each other’s mirror at their regular yoga class.

When a British-accented Jane, who moved to the US as a teenager, abruptly decides to accept a job offer to move to London, Lucy falls apart. The shock, coupled with several tequilas and Jane’s admission that she once kissed a girl in high school (Am I okay? is sharp when describing the emotional carelessness of straight women getting into their own fun), leads to Lucy to admit something that she has tiptoed. for years: she is attracted to women. It’s not a surprising confession even 20 minutes into the movie, given that Lucy resists a nervous advance from her friend Ben (Whitmer Thomas) and warms to the touch of Brittany (Kiersey Clemons), a doting masseuse at the spa where she lives. she is a recepcionist.

The subsequent candid conversation of the friends (Lucy raw and embarrassed, Jane sympathetic, casual and apologetic for not asking sooner) is one of the most moving and emotionally poignant scenes in the film. “I felt it was easier to keep it buried,” Lucy says through tears. “I feel so stupid and I don’t even know what I am.” It’s been a good Sundance for Dakota Johnson, who also stole the show as a thirty-something single mom making big decisions in Cooper Raiff’s Cha Cha Real Smooth. Here, she plays Lucy unburdened but seething with shame, repressed feelings buzzing to the surface; her reluctance to come out now, at 32, is both sweet and painful.

It’s unclear, in the first third of the film, if Lucy is so excited by Jane’s announcement and jealous of her budding bond with her upset and confused co-worker Kat (Molly Gordon) because of their best friendship or because of a misunderstanding. unconfessed romantic relationship. feelings. Fortunately, Pomerantz avoids a will-they-won’t-they plot or unrequited love between the two leads by more thorny and insightful threads: Lucy’s hesitant surrender to Brittany’s confused flirtations, how Jane’s eagerness to help transforms into an instinct for control, and an eventual breakdown of communication between the two as things change.

I’m good? it’s strongest when embedded in the effusive, spent bond of the two friends, in sickness or in health: when the fight comes, the spikes are believably lacerating, the kind only the best of friends can handle. Such sensitive handling makes some weird, jarring beats all the more off-putting. Both Kat and Jane’s boss, Stu (Sean Hayes), are caricatures of self-absorption; a scene where Kat and Jane attend a “hammock retreat” hosted by Notaro’s Sheila, wearing an obvious long gray wig, plays like an off-key and unnecessary parody of Nine Perfect Strangers that belongs in a different movie.

Such diversions into full-blown attempts at comedy distract from the compelling portrayals of Jane and Lucy’s gravitational bond and Lucy’s burgeoning sense of identity, but they don’t derail them. In the end, as the two weigh whether to stay or go and what the future holds, Lucy and Jane’s banter flows into a familiar and comforting rhythm – the film finally finds its groove, made all the sweeter for the time spent figuring it out.

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