Tig Notaro and Stephanie Allynne's Am I Ok? is a great movie; it’s heartwarming and at times heartbreaking but always heartfelt.

Sundance Film Review: Am I Ok?


Sundance Film Review: Am I Ok?
Directors: Tig Notaro, Stephanie Allynne

Gloria Sanchez Productions, Picturestart and TeaTime Pictures
Premieres: 01.23 at 2:00 p.m. MST

I’ve seen some very good films at Sundance this year, but last year’s festival got off to such an incredible start with CODA that I was becoming resigned to the fact that this year wasn’t going to have anything that really grabbed me in a special way. Then Am I Ok? came along.

Am I Ok? is the story of two best friends, Lucy (Dakota Johnson) and Jane (Sonoya Mizuno, Maniac, Crazy Rich Asians), who have been practically joined at the hip most of their lives, and there’s nothing they don’t tell each other… or is there? When Jane springs the news that she’s moving from LA to London for a job opportunity, Lucy is feeling emotionally vulnerable enough to drop an even bigger bombshell: At age 32, she’s finally realizing that she’s a lesbian. Jane, the confident and driven superhero to Lucy’s faithful sidekick, is determined to help her friend through this transition and make sure that she lives her life to the fullest, even if it means stepping far outside of her comfort zone. Despite the best intentions, Jane’s controlling personality and Lucy’s world-class gift for being timid and stubborn at the same time tests their lifelong friendship, and chaos ensues.

Directors Tig Notaro and Stephanie Allynne—a real life couple who met while making the Sundance hit In A World…—bring Lauren Pomerantz’s hilarious and touching screenplay to vibrant life and establishing themselves as an exciting new filmmaking team. Johnson, who got off to a bad start with the 50 Shades films but is becoming a personal favorite, gives one of her best performances to date, perfectly balancing Lucy’s fears and neediness with her strength and wit. Mizuno is a revelation as the bossy but loving Jane, and they make for a perfect screen duo. 

The supporting cast is stellar, including Jermaine Fowler (Coming 2 America) as Jane’s boyfriend Danny and Kiersey Clemons (Hearts Beat Loud) as Brit, a co-worker whom Lucy finds herself crushing on hard. Some of the biggest, funniest moments come from Molly Gordon (Animal Kingdom) as Kat, Jane’s annoying work friend, and Notaro herself in a sidesplitting cameo appearance. But as many laughs Am I Ok? provides, it’s the emotion, sincerity and relatability that make it really soar. Am I Ok? is coming of age story that happens to take place a later point in life than most, which makes it both unique and refreshing as it recognizes that there is no universal timetable for finding oneself. 

Am I Ok? is a great movie; it’s heartwarming and at times heartbreaking but always heartfelt. It could be a serious contender for the Audience Choice Award and has a bright future ahead of it. It’s not literally this year’s CODA—they are two completely different films—but it was the film this year that made me tingle with a sense of excitement that I got to be among the first to discover its charms. –Patrick Gibbs