Disclaimer: The article contains brief discussions of suicide and trauma.
Its not good was released on Hulu on July 29, and the savage critique of influencer culture received a lot of rave reviews. At the time of posting, it has a respectable 75% on Rotten Tomatoes, with many critics liking its depiction of social media manipulation and fifteen minutes of fame. With themes of trauma, superficiality and deception, the film is especially relevant to today’s audiences.
After Zoey Deutch’s Danni Sanders tells her terrible lie, the facade inevitably cracks as she finds out the hard way that the internet loves a fall from grace. Ironically, the internet has a lot to say about her, with thousands of viewers sharing her opinion of the film, just as famous influencers did in her appearances. Letterboxd is one such space for these thoughts, and a few hilarious quotes from these reviews sum up the film.
Dylan O’Brian’s character Colin is the weed editor of Vice’s ‘Depravity’ website, emerging from his office from a cloud of smoke with an elaborate scorpion joint. Danni’s infatuation with him kicks off her elaborate ploy, only to end in tears. Mailbox user bree chastises Danni, saying, “she really fell in love with a guy whose instagram user is @weedboiiicolin… I can’t keep defending her.”
Everyone has had a crush they look back on and regret, and that Instagram name is unforgivably creepy. She is massively let down by Colin when he starts to like her, and this should have been his first red flag. To the Letterboxd user, she sees right through Colin’s facade from the start, perhaps predicting that he is in fact a poser from Maine.
Mailbox username Dylan says in capital letters, “GODISAWOMANMAN CARRIED,” referring to the username of Charles, a character Danni meets at the mass violence survivor support group. Rowan tells Danni that she suffered trauma as a participant in Ariana Grande’s real-life UK concert, where a tragic suicide bombing took place.
He proudly shouts to Danni that he is known as ‘God is A Woman Man’, in a play on words from Ariana Grande’s much-loved song. The user clearly finds the secondary character amusing, especially when he tries to befriend a fame-seeking Danni. Although Danni judges and ignores him, luckily Charles is nothing like her and other delusional influencers, as he is unapologetic on social media.
Colin’s bleached hair is dreamy to some and abominable to others. He smokes lots of weed, has lots of tattoos, wears big clothes and has a self-important arrogance. This has led to some comparing Dylan O’Brian’s character to actor and comedian Pete Davidson. Gal Balaban jokes: “I love Pete Davidson’s performance of Dylan O’Brian in this movie.”
As the film is a satire of today’s internet culture, it’s only natural that the romantic interest would be inspired by the most wanted man of Generation Z. O’Brian plays this genre of man effortlessly, perhaps a little more over-the-top than the current Pete. Davidson.
Its not good instantly conveys Danni’s characterization as an aspiring writer, but comes across as self-centered due to her tactless nature. User in mailbox molly highlighted a particular comparison Danni made, saying, “I knew Danni was hopeless the minute she compared herself to Lena Dunham.”
One of Danni’s main character flaws is her deafness in terms of the more progressive world, where at one point, she compares herself to girls creator and essayist while convincing her editor to publish her vain essay. The worst part is that Danni acknowledges this comparison, saying, “But it can’t be deaf as a brand, isn’t that what Lena Dunham does?” which is a reference to Dunham’s fair share of controversy with his past callous comments. The shocking part is that Danni is self-aware and yet she has no problem with it as long as she can gain fame from it, a harbinger of what ends up happening.
Many Letterboxd users had a lot to say about Dylan O’Brian’s involvement in this film, with many having enduring crushes from their Teen Wolf heartthrob days. Unlike his role in Teen Wolf, O’Brian plays a very different self-absorbed influencer. User in mailbox lindsay complains: “this movie gave us a Dylan O’brian sex scene, but at WHAT THE COST.”
This refers to the stomach-churning scene where Danni finally gets exactly the kind of romantic attention she craved from Colin, only to not live up to what she imagined. He uses coarse, vulgar language, and their meeting hardly lasts long, which explains the user’s reaction. Furthermore, the sex scene portrays Colin as a typical womanizer, prioritizing his pleasure and not caring about any contraceptive method. It continues to portray Colin as a terrible, selfish person who only cares about his self-interest, which makes Danni’s activities a waste of time and very consequential.
Its not good inevitably received comparisons to the musical film Dear Evan Hansen, comparing the plot to how Danni Sanders and Evan Hansen find themselves embroiled in lies that spiral out of control, with dire consequences. While Evan pretends to be best friends with a teen suicide victim, growing closer to his grieving family, Danni bonds with school shooting survivor Rowan as a result of her lie.
User tyler gives the film an alternative tagline: “the ticktokification of Dear Evan Hansen (2021).” Coining a new word in the process, the user refers to the numerous TikTok references in the film, with Danni using many of the platform’s popular gestures and phrases. They also show that the clamor for attention in Its not good is on a much larger scale than in Dear Evan Hansenas Danni orders all of TikTok to use her hashtag: #notokay.
The obnoxious female lead had plenty of embarrassing moments, as the film sometimes feels like an exercise in second-hand embarrassment. From Danni posting ‘Skin Goals!!’ in a video of Rowan describing the horror of a school shooting to the numerous TikTok gestures she makes in serious situations, she also behaves and reacts recklessly, failing to read the room most of the time. Of user Chloe had a bad case, she comments: “The second-hand embarrassment watching this made me open another browser tab just to check emails at 10pm on a Friday night”.
The feeling of being embarrassed on someone’s behalf isn’t pleasant, so it’s understandable that the Letterboxd reviewer has to shut down for a minute or two. However, as his journey to fame quickly sinks with his confession, it shows. Danni as a more complex character who sees the true consequences of their actions.
Mailbox user marcelina makes an excellent observation: “No wonder she has a black swan poster in the room.” A movie poster for the 2010 thriller black swan can be seen when Danni returns to her childhood bedroom after her ‘traumatic experience’. It can be assumed that, as a fan of Darren Aronofsky’s film, she admires the character of Nina, a ballerina who tries her hardest to earn the role of a lifetime.
It’s possible that this small detail predicted Danni’s end as she deals with the repercussions of fame. In a way, Danni emulates the extreme dedication Nina goes through in the film, realizing her dreams regardless of the ramifications.
From user lovely has a unique but understandable takeaway from the film. She stated that she is “tempted to buy a long-haired guinea pig right now”, clearly inspired by Danni’s hilarious pet Guinea Weasley. In a nod to the Harry Potter franchise and Ginny Weasley, this reference is a hint at their cusp status as being on the cusp of millennials and Gen Z.
The guinea pig is undeniably cute and is Danni’s only companion at the beginning of the film as she talks to her nonstop. It wouldn’t be surprising if sales of the adorable pet surged after the movie’s popularity, ironically showing just how influential today’s media can be.
Danni makes many mistakes throughout Its not good and doesn’t handle your excuses very well either. She is a delusional influencer, deaf at best. For example, she compares Rowan and herself to Katniss and Rue de Hunger Games, forgetting that Rue dies in the movie. reviewer emu has some simple advice for Danni going forward: “read the babygirl room”.
If Danni stops thinking of herself as the main character – ironic, since she is literally the main character of Its not good – she can successfully ‘read the room’ and think more carefully about her actions and how they affect others. It’s a message she doesn’t understand until her final moments, when she finally realizes what her actions have done and, for the first time, considers the feelings of others during a crucial period.