Disney+ viewers are Not Okay after reading the movie’s “unlikable female protagonist” disclaimer, despite the director meaning it to be ironic.
Movies have hammed up their disclaimers for decades, but in recent years, they’ve leaned more on satire than the likes of Dogma’s platypus gag and Tyler Durden’s PSA on the Fight Club DVD.
For example, Assassination Nation opens with a breakneck list of trigger warnings, including but not limited to: abuse, toxic masculinity, bullying, transphobia, nationalism, fragile male egos, and murder.
Not Okay, a new Disney+ and Hulu original movie about a young, deplorable fame-chaser, features its own meta-disclaimer. Going off the online reaction, it seems some viewers aren’t in on the joke.
Not Okay movie’s director explains disclaimer
As you press play on Not Okay, you’ll see the following exclaimer: “CONTENT WARNING: This film contains flashing lights, themes of trauma, and an unlikable female protagonist. Viewer discretion advised.”
The film stars Zoey Deutch as Danni, a young woman who pretends to be the victim of a tragedy in Paris in a bid for followers and fame, “but she soon learns that online notoriety comes with a terrible price,” the official synopsis reads.
In an interview with IndieWire, writer and director Quinn Shephard said the disclaimer was always meant to provoke the audience – but it’s a commentary on the reaction to unlikeable female characters, such as Dashcam’s Annie Hardy.
“It was interesting to me that a large chunk of the audience seemed genuinely upset by the fact that the film was about Danni [the main character], and so I just wanted to kind of poke at it a little,” Shephard said.
“I wanted to see [if I could] trick people into thinking that it was going to be a safe and funny watch, and then keep dialing down on what, at its core, this character is doing.”
That said, it was also “borne out of test screenings,” Shephard explained, with some responses questioning why anyone would make a movie with “an unlikable woman.”
Viewers react to Not Okay movie’s “unlikable female protagonist disclaimer”
It is a deadpan disclaimer, and unfortunately, some viewers appear to have been rather offended, with one writing: “Why is Hulu warning me about ‘an unlikeable female protagonist’? Do unlikeable male protagonists need content warnings?”
“We need a content warning for women being… human? Never have I ever seen a content warning of this sort for men,” another tweeted.
“There is a content warning before Hulu’s Not Okay that warns the film has an unlikeable female protagonist. What the fuck,” a third wrote.
Another viewer seemed to defend the disclaimer given the “blood-boiling” content of the film. “If you’ve been a victim of any kind of trauma, fair warning before watching Not Okay,” they wrote.
“It’s a good movie don’t get me wrong, but when they say it has an unlikeable female protagonist they mean it. My blood is boiling but I mean that means the movie is doing its job.”
Not Okay is available to stream on Disney+ and Hulu now.