From actress and producer Olivia Wilde, best known for her roles in the television series’s “The O.C.” and “House” comes the recently released film “Don’t Worry Darling.”
“Don’t Worry Darling” is the story of Alice and Jack (played by Florence Pugh and Harry Styles) and their seemingly perfect lives in the utopian company town of Victory. They live amongst numerous other couples in a 1950s-style paradise, complete with all the stylings and mannerisms that you could expect from the decade.
However, Alice begins uncovering cracks in this apparent paradise, as she realizes that the company Jack works for might be hiding sinister secrets from the denizens of their quaint little community.
Before the release of “Don’t Worry Darling,” the film was already dominating the discussion of film discourse. It was hard to avoid the controversy surrounding the movie from the supposed drama on and off set to Harry Styles allegedly spitting on Chris Pine’s lap at the film’s Venice premiere. The drama surrounding the film was more talked about than the actual film itself.
Going into the actual film, my hopes were relatively optimistic, considering the drama that was unfolding day by day. Wilde had cemented herself as a half-decent director with her film “Booksmart,” which was a nice modern-day equivalent to the coming-of-age buddy comedies of decades past like “Superbad.”
However, “Don’t Worry Darling” is clearly not a comedy film, so it became a big question for me as to whether or not Wilde would be able to transfer her skills as a comedy director towards a completely different genre — in this case, a mystery thriller.
After viewing, I can safely say that Wilde is a much better comedy director than a thriller director. That’s not to say that this film is terrible, because there are moments that shine through, but not to the point where I would feel comfortable calling the film anything more than okay at best and outright bad at worst.
The script has a so-so concept that sets up a number of thrilling moments, but these moments don’t feel like they come together in an organic way. Instead, they appear disconnected and as if they are meant to pad out runtime as opposed to weaving a plot together with pieces provided throughout the film.
This style of filmmaking is much more standard and accepted for a horror film, but for a thriller mystery where a majority of the focus is on the unknown aspects of the plot, it comes across as annoying when so many questions go unresolved. In the end, the big twist that concludes the film only provides as many questions as it does answers.
The singular shining grace that this film has is Pugh’s lead performance. While almost everyone else in the film is giving forgettable performances, the only two that really stand out are that of Pugh and Styles’ embarrassingly bad acting.
Thankfully, as the main character, we get much more of Pugh on screen than we do Styles, but for the moments that they do interact with one another, it’s a bit comedic seeing an actress figuratively running circles around her fellow lead.
Overall, despite a few highlights, “Don’t Worry Darling” left a lot to be desired. There was definitely potential for a compelling and engaging film here, but sadly it just falls flat. As a result, it leaves the insane discourse surrounding the film to be the most memorable part of the film itself, and will probably end up being the only thing that people remember about it a few years from now.