This image released by Max shows Dakota Johnson, left, and Sonoya Mizuno in a scene from "Am I Ok?" Source: James Clark/Max via AP

Lesbian Film 'Am I OK?' Is a Tender and Hilarious Coming-Out Story

Megan Kearns READ TIME: 3 MIN.

Sometimes, you see a movie at a film festival and can't wait for it to be released so everyone else can watch it too. "Am I OK?" is one of those films for me. (Little did I know I would have to wait two years.) While I wish it had received a theatrical release, I'm ecstatic for it finally to release on streaming so people have the opportunity to see this delightful film.

One of my favorite films I saw at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, "Am I OK?" is a charming, tender, and hilarious coming-out story boasting sharp writing and great acting.

Directed by queer married couple Stephanie Allynne and Tig Notaro, "Am I OK?" stars Dakota Johnson as Lucy and Sonoya Mizuno as Lucy and Jane, best friends since their teens living in Los Angeles. Both stand at a crossroads. Lucy comes out as a lesbian at 32 years old; she's nervous and apprehensive. Jane, who's more outgoing and takes chances, gets a job promotion in London, which is where she's originally from, but she hasn't visited or lived there since she was 16.

Jane and Lucy's other friends are incredibly supportive of her coming out as a lesbian. Jane pushes Lucy to go on dating sites and to go on dates with women. But Lucy is reticent, as she feels she needs to slowly figure it out.

Jane asks Lucy if perhaps she's "both." Lucy says no, sharing how she's never felt comfortable and always weird with men. As a bisexual woman, I really appreciate the dialogue and how the film acknowledges bisexuality. Rather than assuming Lucy is a lesbian, she declares it for herself. Lucy briefly hooks up with Brittany (Kiersey Clemmons, who's queer), Jane's free-spirited co-worker who's sexually fluid, asserting sexuality is on a spectrum.

Jane's incessant, yet well-meaning, prodding of Lucy to get out of her comfort zone, as well as what Jane's move could mean for them, eventually causes a rift in their friendship.

I relish Lucy and Jane's friendship, which feels sweet, supportive, and authentic. Dakota Johnson and Sonoya Mizuno share a magnetic chemistry; their banter and body language feels incredibly natural and believable. I loved both characters separately and when they spent time together. Their friendship serves as an anchor for both of them.

Dakota Johnson is an interesting and underrated actor. I've enjoyed her acting in "Suspiria," "Cha Cha Real Smooth," and "Persuasion." As Lucy, she gives a restrained and subtle performance. Sonoya Mizuno is always great in supporting film roles ("Ex Machina," "Civil War"). While she's the lead in the series "Devs," it's nice to see her in a leading movie role. Here, she gets the chance to shine.

I cherished the exploration of someone not in their teens nor their 20s coming out a little bit later in life. As someone who came out later in my life, "Am I OK?" really resonated with me. I related to so much of what Lucy experiences.

In an incredibly vulnerable moment, and one of my favorite scenes in the film, Lucy says, "I feel stupid. I should have it figured out by now." Those words hit me like a ton of bricks. She articulated exactly how I felt when I came out. But that's just not how it works. People come out at all different ages. There's no set timeline.

Everyone's journey is different, and for some people it takes time to realize or embrace their queerness. I desperately wish this was depicted on screen more. When we do get coming-out stories, they usually follow LGBTQ+ teens. We definitely need those crucial stories, but we also need films where characters come out in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond.

Not only is "Am I OK?" wildly entertaining, with an engaging lesbian protagonist, it exists as a vital queer film exploring coming out later in life with sensitivity, humor, nuance, and respect.

"Am I OK?" is streaming now on Max.

by Megan Kearns

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