‘Am I Ok?’: Dakota Johnson Navigates the Comedy and Drama of Coming Out in Your Thirties 

There has been a wave of films in recent years about queer teens embracing their sexualities, but what about those who figure out that part of themselves relatively later in life? Max’s comedy-drama “Am I OK?” follows Lucy (Dakota Johnson), a woman who comes to terms with the possibility of her being a lesbian at the ripe old age of 32. She also navigates her changing relationship with her longtime best friend, Jane (Sonoya Mizuno), who herself is in a different kind of transitional phase.

“Am I OK?” was inspired by writer Lauren Pomerantz’s own experience of coming out at age 34, giving an authenticity to Lucy, who is played with empathy by Johnson. The film was directed by spouses Tig Notaro and Stephanie Allynne, and Allynne has stated that she identified as straight until she met and fell for Notaro in her late twenties. Lucy, who lives in Los Angeles, has a similar experience, although she does not find “the one” quite so easily.

When Lucy is first introduced, she is spending a lot of time with Ben (Whitmer Thomas), a male friend who seems to want more out of the relationship. There is obviously little chemistry there, but Jane encourages her to just sleep with him to see how it feels. Jane is presented as being some sort of voice of reason in Lucy’s life, but her dating advice is bad, and after Lucy confides in her that she might like women, she pushes her friend to put a label on her sexuality. And it is not like Jane brings a ringing endorsement of heterosexuality, as she has been dating her failure-to-launch boyfriend Danny (Jermaine Fowler) for eight years with no progression.

The catalyst for Lucy to question her sexuality is Brittany (Kiersey Clemons), a massage therapist who works at the spa where Lucy is a scheduler. Although Lucy feels something for her, and Brittany is sending plenty of signals, she hesitates to take the leap. The emotional core of the film is their relationship. Brittany, who is still hung up on a male ex, is probably not Ms. Right, but Clemons plays her as being kind, open and understanding, an ideal first female lover for Lucy.

Less interesting is the friendship between Lucy and Jane, which borders on co-dependent. The filmmakers seem to think Jane is just as compelling as Lucy, as they give her almost as much screen time, but she just distracts from what should be Lucy’s story. Johnson and Mizuno have a few nice scenes together, but the character of Jane is lacking in stakes and depth. She is on the verge of moving to London for work, but it is not that drastic of a change since she grew up there. Danny is less keen to relocate across the ocean, but the film never really digs as deep as it could into his character or relationship with Jane.

“Am I OK?” drives home that dating as a lesbian can be just as frustrating as heterosexual dating in a lot of ways. Yes, women are generally better at communicating and emotional intimacy, but females who date females still have to deal with heartbreak, awkward dates, and the occasional games. The eventual ending of “Am I OK?” leaves a lot to be desired, but one has to credit the filmmakers for trying to convey a nice message, that platonic female friendships can also be quite meaningful and important.

Am I OK?” begins streaming June 6 on Max.