‘I Am Not Okay with This’ Subverts, Exceeds Expectations

Ryan Stewart, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Unrequited love of your best friend, mysterious sexual feelings, a complicated relationship with your mother and a growing supernatural power that comes on when you get “boiling” angry.

Sydney Novak (Sophia Lillis) is the classic misfit. She’s new to town, she only has one friend when we meet her and her mother is becoming increasingly difficult to stand after the suicide of her father. Her dynamic range in shifting from journal topic to journal topic through a narrative voice-over lightens and explains what could have easily been a flat character with no substance.

Sophia Lillis brings poise and control to the role of an unstable teen unsure of everything and unsure of how to deal with that. What this results in is a character who as a person, knows what to do, but because of her indescribable feelings and anger she cannot control, exists in a realistic and correct space.

Sydney Novak could not have been played the same way by any other actor, or any way by another actor for that matter, and I’m glad she wasn’t.

Stanley Barber (Wyatt Oleff) offers a strong contrast to Sydney’s rigid fears and bubbling anger. His complementary cool attitude preceding anxiety and masked feelings serves to best highlight what makes Wyatt Oleff a great actor.

His ability to melt into a character and become him à la Joaquin Phoenix establishes Stanley as a character you can truly root for and wish happiness on.

The seven 20-minute episodes comprise what constitutes the watch time of an average movie, but offers so much more in terms the deeper picture being portrayed and the naturally paced, breathable storyline that flips from topic to topic in a smooth way while still representing fragmentation.

That idea is a thematic theme captured brilliantly in the show, and everything coalesces into a story which left me impressed, distressed at times and wholly ready for another season, even if it would only be seven more 20-minute segments.

I’d be happy with that, saddened by less and over joyous with more.