By Piper Sartison
Elm Staff Writer
After weeks of drama, Olivia Wilde’s new film “Don’t Worry Darling,” starring Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, and Chris Pine, was released in theaters on Sept. 23.
The movie follows a community of families who live in a utopian society surrounded by palm trees and scenic desert mountains. With smiles plastered on their faces, the wives are assigned to take care of their husbands, clean the house, and participate in recreational activities while their husbands leave for work every morning, only to return at dusk.
At the beginning of the film, the community seems perfect; the wives are content with their lives, and their husbands take care of them. As the plot progresses, however, some of the women begin to question their reality.
Pugh, who plays Alice, begins to hallucinate as she realizes that she’s being trapped against her will. Her husband, Jack (Styles), as well as his boss, Frank (Pine), gaslight her into thinking that everything is in her head.
From there, the rest of the film unfolds into a chaotic drama filled with violence, horror, and tragedy.
According to Complex, there was drama surrounding the cast before the film’s release.
While “Don’t Worry, Darling” was in production, it was rumoured that Wilde began dating Harry Styles before she split from her then-husband, Jason Sudeikis. Some have also speculated that Wilde and Styles’ highly publicized romance was merely for promotion.
Some theorized that Pugh did not promote the film because of frustrations with Wilde. Possible reasons for her frustration include the over-sexualization of Pugh’s character, Wilde’s purported requests for Pugh to have a showmance with Styles, and the alleged pressure Wilde put on Pugh to continue working with actor Shia LeBouf, who was originally slated to play Jack but let go after he was accused of abuse by his ex-girlfriend, FKA Twigs.
If the drama piqued your interest, you might be disappointed. Sadly, Pugh’s acting talent and the film’s artful direction cannot save a bad script.
When asked about the film, Styles said, “You know, my favorite thing about the movie is, like, it feels like a movie…It feels like a real, like, you know, ‘go to the theater’ film movie.”
After watching this movie, I completely understand this perspective, as this is a movie meant to be played in theaters.
Its flashing, risky scenes, beautiful cinematography, and captivating production design were all entertaining to watch on screen. At times, I felt as though it was a nice distraction from reality because it was satisfying to watch the dramas unfold through the lens of this perfect world.
Unfortunately, it would play better as an extended music video rather than a feature-length film.
The disturbing scenes in “Don’t Worry Darling” are unnecessary. It feels as though the violence was used as a shock value to keep the audience’s attention and distract them from the weak plot.
Despite the excessive shock value scares, I would argue that the worst part of this movie was its repetitive story. The audience was constantly reminded of the conflict, being that the protagonist was trapped. While watching Alice’s continuous efforts to fight against assimilation, the plot began to lose its spark.
However, Florence Pugh does a phenomenal job at portraying her role despite the limitations of the script. If writer Katie Silberman had gone deeper with the plot, Alice would have progressed past the point of just exhibiting pure hysteria.
“Don’t Worry Darling” is an intense film focused on the destruction of patriarchy, but it does not have much to say about what got everyone there in the first place. The eventual plot twist is entertaining, but it does not live up to expectations.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Photo Caption: Actress Florence Pugh is shaping up to be this generation’s new scream queen. After starring in Ari Aster’s 2019 film “Midsommar,” Pugh cemented herself as an acting force, and once again delivers an excellent thriller performance in “Don’t Worry Darling.”