Don’t Worry Darling Movie Review


Courtesy of IMDb

Harry Styles and Florence Pugh star in Don’t Worry Darling.

Leah Cardinale, Staff Writer

            Starring Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, and Chris Pine, Olivia Wilde’s much anticipated Don’t Worry Darling hit theatres on September 23rd. With tons of controversy surrounding the film, including mixed reviews, drama with Shia LaBeouf, who was originally supposed to play main character Jack, and alleged tension between Pugh and Wilde, I was excited to see for myself what the movie was all about. 

            Wilde’s second directorial film, Don’t Worry Darling is a psychological thriller, which was pretty much the only thing I knew about the film going into the movie. As a fan of the psychological thriller/horror genre, the movie lived up to my expectations. Pugh’s performance in Ari Aster’s Midsommar left no doubt in my mind that she would bring the same star factor to Don’t Worry Darling

Pugh plays Alice, a 1950s housewife living in a picturesque desert community with her husband Jack, played by Harry Styles, who is a part of the elusive Victory Project. The women in the community lead ideal lifestyles: their husbands leave for work at the Victory Headquarters every morning, while they stay home to clean, or perhaps to go shopping, and later prepare dinner for when their husbands return. 

The women are discouraged from asking questions about their husbands’ work and told not to venture out to Headquarters. Alice’s world falls apart and the film quickly takes a turn when she begins to see cracks in this utopia. After seeing a plane crash, she wanders into the desert until she stumbles upon Headquarters. After touching the building, Alice experiences vivid, creepy hallucinations then later wakes up at home. The events that follow cause her to spiral and we watch Alice get gaslit by everyone around her when she tries to warn them that something is amiss. 

Don’t Worry Darling’s cinematography is crisp and clean, the bright retro-chic aesthetic pulls the viewer in and has you desperate to discover what is going on beneath the surface. Harry Styles’ performance blatantly fell flat when it came to acting in high-stakes emotional scenes with Pugh. Conversely, when Alice confronts the town’s leader Frank, played by Chris Pine, there is exciting tension and Pugh’s acting skills are equally met. 

The film’s twist Matrix-esque ending was one I didn’t see coming. We get a flashback of Alice in the modern world as a surgeon who comes home from a thirty-hour shift to the most frightening part of the film, brace yourself: ugly Harry Styles. Jack in the real-world is an unattractive bum, the opposite of the Victory Society Jack the viewer has seen for most of the film. The couple live in a dingy apartment and Jack, who is unemployed, becomes fed up with not being able to spend time (or have sex) with his girlfriend. So, he does what any loving boyfriend would do—he sedates her and forces her into a simulation. Alice escapes, killing Jack in the process, but we don’t see what happens when she wakes up, leaving the viewer on a cliffhanger. 

            Wilde’s social commentary is simple and almost too easy: men are threatened by the success of women. Furthermore, the viewer is left with many questions after the film like the meaning of the plane crash that drew Alice into the desert in the first place. The plane shows up as a motif throughout the film and is even seen on the official movie poster, but then never explained after it makes its main appearance. Were the small earthquakes that kept happening glitches or disturbances in real-life? What happens after Alice wakes up?

            The film was overall pleasing to the eye with wardrobe that was stunning and very well done. I enjoyed Don’t Worry Darling and would recommend it to anybody looking for a movie that makes you think.