We Should’ve Worried More
Don’t let the PR firestorm distract you; this movie isn’t good.
By Deidre Higgins
I pirated Don’t Worry Darling, director Olivia Wilde’s latest film starring her (then?) boyfriend Harry Styles and Florence Pugh, in order to write this review (don’t pirate movies, I would never advertise that, that’s a crime, etc.). If you’ve been on a sketchy website before, there’s that moment where you think, am I going to get a laptop-killing virus on this computer right now? Well, when I reached the 35-minute mark on Don’t Worry Darling, I wished I had infected my computer to give me a reason not to finish watching.
I will not be giving a detailed timeline of Olivia Wilde-Harry Styles-Florence Pugh-(Shia LeBeouf?)-Chris Pine drama; there’s TikTok for that. Even though the storyline provided great fodder for TikTok, the insane amount of drama surrounding Don’t Worry Darling’s premiere has taken a lot of the focus off the actual film itself. So, spoiler alert: it’s bad! Wilde proved she has talent as a director with 2019’s Booksmart, and, in all honesty, I don’t think she’s the sole reason this movie fails to hit - although it does feel unoriginal. It’s as if Wilde stitched together Get Out, with a bit of Handmaid’s Tale, and a touch of The Truman Show and called it a movie. It doesn’t work; the plot isn’t well tied-together or compelling enough to keep a viewer watching. Why Wilde would choose this story and screenplay is beyond me - the idea is tired.
Don’t Worry Darling opens with an idyllic couple, Alice (Pugh) and Jack (Styles), who live in Victory California, featuring Frank (Pine) as their town leader. Alice becomes more and more curious (and paranoid) by Jack’s devotion to the ‘Victory Project’. There are twists and there are turns. Some are decent (which was truly unexpected), but every piece of dialogue and scene just makes the movie seem obvious. For a psychological thriller, I was never shocked.
And, finally, the acting. It’s not that just that one clip you’ve seen on Twitter- HarryStyles’s accent is strange in this movie. Aside from that, he’s just not enough for this movie. Some critics have been harsh on his acting, and while I agree there’s a lot of work to be done, the fact is that he isn’t awful, he’s just no match for Pugh. Pugh truly is the one saving grace of this movie - the only character who you can look at and believe. She is devoted to her role, giving a new sense of paranoia, and, unfortunately, outdoing Styles in most scenes.
After the Venice Film Festival, it seemed like no one could stop talking about Don’t Worry Darling. What’s surprising to me is, after all that, how forgettable and unoriginal this film truly is. I have no doubt people will still flock to see it in theaters, but will any part of the plot stick with them after watching the movie? Is there any sort of message or social commentary that works here? I worry Wilde might not be the director we thought she was.