Don’t Worry Darling was great but lacked in plot

I enjoyed Don’t Worry Darling despite it’s harsh reviews.


Olivia Wilde said Inception and The Truman Show inspired this film.

Last weekend I had the joy of watching Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling.

If you’re anything like myself, then you might’ve been caught up in the several headlines it made at the Venice film festival a few weeks ago. Everything from cast drama, Harry Styles spitting, and Florence Pugh missing the press event was speculated about.

Despite its 38% score on Rotten tomatoes, I think the movie was a success.

The movie starred Harry Styles, Florence Pugh, Gemma Chan, Chris Pine, Olivia Wilde, and Nick Kroll. Don’t Worry Darling was filmed in Los Angeles and Palm Springs, California with a budget of $35 million. It showcased Olivia Wilde’s second time directing but fell short of her 2019 film Booksmart.

The scenery of the movie is beautiful and central to the final plot twist. Filmed in the desert of Palm Springs, California, each scene beheld white picket fenced lawns backed by beautiful scarlet dust and clear blue skies.

The story centers around a young couple Jack (Harry Styles) and Alice (Florence Pugh) living in a small society built around the elusive Victory Project. Perfect at first glance, the small town is occupied by cisgender couples and families who rely on their fathers who work at the Victory Project every day. Every morning at Victory, wives are seen waving goodbye to their husbands. Also key to the story, all the men who work at Victory revere and have a godlike respect for its leader Frank (Chris Pine). The caveat is that employees aren’t allowed to share anything about the project itself, what it entails, or why they’re doing it. At first I thought the society was meant to mirror the small towns where scientists who built the nuclear bomb lived with their families, especially given the setting.

As the movie progresses Alice begins noting the oddities of her town. One afternoon, as she is preparing dinner for Jack when she finds that all of the eggs in the carton are empty, uncracked shells. On top of that she keeps having the same repetitive hallucination of women dancing, a blood-like ink spot, and a short tune she cannot place. Before soon, Alice begins unraveling her cryptic world.

Generally, I try to avoid reading reviews before watching a movie. I am easily influenced by other’s opinions and I like to try to develop my own before reading reviews. However, with Don’t Worry Darling it was hard to do so, given the controversy leading up to its release. That being said, I was expecting the film to be a lot worse than it was. The parts that were most talked about (the sex scenes) seemed the least important to the plot.

It goes without saying — Pugh’s performance was incredible. She kept the story moving and made the audience sympathetic to her situation. At every twist her gestures and dialogue kept the crowd on the edge of their seats. I agree with other reviews in that Stlyes could have given a more convincing performance. Despite articulating the meaning of the film well and displaying true emotion in his performances, I did not feel like he truly loved Alice. Maybe that’s part of the meaning of the story, but by all counts, his performance seemed like it almost hit the spot. Also, from the very beginning, the suspense keeps building. It seemed like there was never a moment for the audience to catch their breath or get to know the characters more. If the story had built slowly the finale would’ve been more hard hitting.

The ending was predictable, but that didn’t upset me. What I really found disturbing was the abrupt ending of the film; there was no resolution given to the supporting characters, Alice and Jack’s relationship is left in question, and the theme was not drawn into a larger context.

Nevertheless, I give this movie 4/5. The acting was great for the most part, and I relished in the setting and costume design. My only complaints are of Styles’ performance and the ending.