Arts and Entertainment

One Hundred Percent Okay With This

Reading Time: 2 minutes

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By Delia Qiu

Have you ever wished you had superpowers? Maybe you wished you could fly, shapeshift, or even turn invisible. Or maybe you wished that you had seemingly infinite strength. Originally a graphic novel by Charles Forsman, “I Am Not Okay With This” is a seven-part psychological thriller on Netflix directed by Jonathan Entwistle and written by Entwistle and Christy Hall, following adolescent Sydney Novak (Sophia Lillis) as she struggles to control her newly found psychic abilities.

The series follows Sydney through her day-to-day life as she faces emotionally-fraught questions of family, friendship, and sexuality. This would all be enough in and of itself, but when you add in the danger of potentially slaughtering all of her loved ones with an ill-timed psychic-emotional outburst, it’s enough to drive anyone insane. Each episode only spans twenty minutes, but the pacing and the writing are both phenomenal. The story itself is pretty cut-and-dry, without any major twists or deep-seated plot elements. But this simplicity allows the show to milk each scene and make even the most mundane things keep you on the edge of your seat. The soundtrack is also excellent, magnifying the emotional intensity of the show without ever feeling out of place. For twenty minutes, each episode feels like an hour well-spent.

The premise is simple, but the real lure of the story lies in the characters. Sydney doubles as the narrator and the protagonist, with almost the entire show being read out of her diary from some time in the future. Her internal monologue colors almost every scene, lending an extra layer of drama and suspense. Her best friend Dina (Sofia Bryant) plays an excellent straight man to Sydney’s emotionally fraught antics. Her neighbor Stanley Barber (Wyatt Oleff) is hands down one of the best characters in the show for his phenomenal characterization (even among this cast) and Oleff’s amazing performance. Dina’s new boyfriend, Bradley “Brad” Lewis (Richard Ellis), is an asshole, but he’s a believable asshole, rather than cartoonishly over-the-top. Even minor side and background characters are given at least a little bit of depth. Though not all are likeable people, they’re all cohesively written, understandable, and likeable characters. The casting meshes well; the acting ranges from good to great, giving a special nod to Oleff; and the stellar writing allows them to act like real people with motivations that lead to organic growth of both the characters and the story, instead of props to be moved from point A to B.

“I Am Not Okay With This” is a must-watch for anyone with an affinity for psychological thrillers, well-written characters, magical realism, or even just high school dramas. The soundtrack, characters, and the writing lend themselves to a unique and suspenseful series rich in all the elements that make a story great—and the best part is, the series isn’t over. The ending of season one, which wraps up Sydney’s origin story, sets the stage for season two. And with quarantine giving us all so little to do anyway, this series is more than worth a try.