Don’t Worry Darling movie reviews

October 13, 2022

Don’t Worry Darling movie review

Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling seemed to be set up for success, beautiful costumes, sets, and actors, plenty of drama from the cast to get the internet talking, and c’mon, Harry Styles. After watching the trailer it really seemed like something worth watching, but unless you’ve got a special desire to watch it, maybe stick with the trailer.

While the easiest way to describe it would be to start with the spoilers at the end, it opens something like this: Alice, (Florence Pugh) is a housewife living with her husband Jack, (Harry Styles) in the idealized, 1950s, suburban company town of Victory. Every day, the husbands in town go to work at the Victory Project’s headquarters; their mission: “the development of progressive materials,” while their wives cook, clean and do anything but ask their husbands what they’re truly working on. Just imagine the scene from A Wrinkle in Time where every house, person, and bouncing ball looks the same, just with a few…adult scenes. Everything goes as wrong as it does in A Wrinkle in Time though. Alice starts to suspect that something is wrong in the seeming perfection of the town, and by the time she figures this out, it may be too late.

The movie isn’t terrible. It’s good for about the first hour, or when what you think is going to happen culminates with the minimum amount of tension to make you hold your breath for a second or two, and then it honestly gets boring. The last 15 minutes leaves you feeling confused about how you feel. It ends with a big reveal, that if set up better could really make it solid. Google describes it as a horror/thriller, so if you’re hesitant to see it because of that, I wouldn’t worry. While there is one scene that could be considered somewhat scary, the other scenes and editing that attempt to fulfill the thriller category come off as annoying rather than creepy after an hour or so.

But, bad stuff aside, I would still recommend seeing it. If you’re a sucker for aesthetics, pretty costumes, and a good mystery, go check it out. Florence Pugh does not disappoint and I was actually surprised by how much I liked Olivia Wilde’s performance (playing Alice’s friend, Bunny) who starred in the movie along with directing it. Harry Styles’ acting isn’t bad and I would say he actually carries the comic relief.

But I think the movie can really be summed up in Harry Styles’ description of it, “my favorite thing about the movie, is like, it feels like a movie.”

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I’m worried, darling

Following Olivia Wilde’s successful directorial debut with Booksmart, critics and moviegoers had high expectations for her follow-up film starring Florence Pugh and Harry Styles: Don’t Worry Darling. Not only was this film meant to establish her as one of the most promising up-and-coming female directors, but it was also slated to be Harry Styles’ significant acting debut.

Unfortunately, the drama and interpersonal conflicts among the actors and crew were more entertaining and produced more buzz than the actual film.

Don’t Worry Darling follows Alice (Florence Pugh) and Jack (Harry Styles), a couple living in the 1950s utopian community of Victory, where the men go off to work every day and the women are stereotypical housewives. Early in the movie, Alice starts to have unsettling visions and a fellow housewife informs her that charming Victory leader Frank (Chris Pine) is lying to everyone, which leads Alice to believe that not all is as it appears.

The film’s themes of patriarchy, women’s autonomy, and gender norms are immediately apparent, ones that are particularly relevant and pertinent in today’s society. Wilde attempts to critique how the patriarchy contributes to women losing control over their own bodies, but she lacks the skill to adequately examine the issue in the 120+ minute runtime.

The weak pacing, which spends too much time on the glitz and glamour of Victory rather than investing time developing the third act’s exciting ideas, is ultimately to blame for this. There are too many open-ended questions and not nearly enough details provided on Victory’s origins, which causes narrative gaps.

That being said, there are still many positives about the film such as its direction, costume and set design, acting, and score. “Don’t Worry Darling” has some of the most breathtaking shots, only further enhanced by the vibrant and stylistic costumes and sets. The score creates a tense and eerie atmosphere, especially when paired with the unsettling, intermittent shots of 1950s showgirls dancing and smiling directly at the camera.

Florence Pugh and Chris Pine absolutely devour their roles, and even Gemma Chan shines with her limited screen time. While he doesn’t impress like the other seasoned actors, Harry Styles is nowhere near as bad as the Internet would have you believe. Even if his passionate, angry outbursts weren’t the best, he gave a respectable effort in his debut and had good chemistry with Pugh.

There are films like The Stepford Wives and The Truman Show, which have very similar concepts and actually execute them well, but if you are simply interested in seeing an entertaining movie or are too invested in the behind-the-scenes drama, you won’t regret spending $15 at the theater.

In short, Don’t Worry Darling is too ambitious for its own good and ultimately falls short of its thematic goals, but still manages to deliver an exhilarating thriller if you don’t look too closely. In the words of Harry Styles, “My favorite thing about the movie is that it seems like a movie,” couldn’t be more perfect.

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