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Sundance 2022 Review: Am I OK? – “Full of humour but also a lot of heart”

Dakota Johnson and Sonoya Mizuno appear in AM I OK? by Tig Notaro and Stephanie Allynne, an official selection of the Premieres section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Emily Knecht.

Lucy (Dakota Johnson) and Jane (Sonoya Mizuno) are inseparable.  They have the type of friendship that finishes each other’s sentences, knows each other’s food orders, and shares bathroom breaks.  There’s nothing between the two that isn’t shared.  Except for one thing.  Now at the age of 32, Lucy is feeling that she may in fact like women.

These feelings, which have largely been ignored by Lucy, have resulted in only a few short relationships with men that never felt quite right.  But when a new massage therapist, Brittany (Kiersey Clemons) starts at the spa she works at, Lucy starts to feel like Brittany might be flirting with her, and she no longer can ignore the attraction she feels.  At the same time, Jane is offered a promotion that will take her from Los Angeles to London.  Lucy, terrified at her newfound realization wants to take things at her own pace but Jane is determined that before she leaves her friend will be at ease with her authentic self.  Both fearful over uncertainty in their futures, their friendship falls prey to the chaos in their lives as they both navigate significant changes.

Check out our Sundance Film Festival coverage
Am I OK? is the feature debut from co-directors (and real-life spouses) Tig Notaro and Stephanie Allynne.  Working from a script from Lauren Pomerantz they have created a film that is full of humour but also a lot of heart.  They manage to capture incredible moments of vulnerability and compassion, especially visible in the scene where Lucy comes out to her best friend and Jane reacts with such understanding and love.  It seems so unique to find a film about a woman just discovering her sexuality in her 30s, and it’s handled with such sensitivity.  Am I OK? is also a beautiful depiction of the many facets of female friendship, their complexity and extreme intimacy.  It will immediately make you want to reach out to your best friend, at least it did for me.

Johnson and Mizuno create some incredible chemistry, feeling completely believable as women who have been friends since their teens.  I could have easily spent hours with these characters.  But some of Johnson’s best moments come in the dance with Clemons’ Brittany where Lucy is plunged into unknown waters and she displays understandable shyness and fragility.  Also appearing at Sundance in Cha Cha Real Smooth, and with The Lost Daughter also recently under her belt, Johnson is solidifying herself as one of the more intriguing actors to watch as of late.  She makes interesting choices in her film selections, and on this project as well as Cha Cha, she earns her first producer credits.  Clearly both films she is passionate about, and it shows.

Am I OK? is such an honest, yet tender film that is a complete joy to watch.  It’s so nice to see coming-of-age stories that aren’t restrained just to people in their teens or twenties.  We don’t all read the rule book on when we are supposed to find ourselves.  The Worst Person in the World, another title here at Sundance, also depicts this incredibly well.  Sometimes in our 30s we are still forging our path, still discovering new things about ourselves, still having new experiences.  I still feel this way even beyond this age bracket.  In fact, I can make an argument that another festival film Good Luck to You, Leo Grande is a coming of age story, and its main character is 62-year-old Emma Thompson.  Adding Am I OK? to this list, it’s completely refreshing to see the realization that becoming ones true self is a process that isn’t restrained to a singular timeline.

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