[Review] “Don’t Worry Darling” is worrisome


Illustrated by Sayee Deshmukh

Sayee Deshmukh, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Don’t Worry Darling premiered in theaters September 23, 2022. The psychological thriller contains an all-star cast, a charming yet eerie setting, and a seemingly interesting plotline. Despite these quirks, Don’t Worry Darling seems to fall short on greatness. 

The movie follows couple Alice (Florence Pugh) and Jack (Harry Styles) Chambers in the 1950s, living in a dreamy, small yet tight knit suburb in Victory, California. Like the other men, Jack works at Victory Headquarters out in the desert while the wives cook, clean, and please their husbands. As idyllic as this world may be, the wives are not allowed to know anything about their husbands jobs, and are not permitted to go to the Headquarters by any means necessary. As the film progresses, more and more is revealed about the “world” that Alice inhabits, as well as Alice discovering the truth of who Jack really is, as well as herself.

As this is Olivia Wilde’s sophomore film, many were expecting the movie to live up to Wilde’s directorial debut Booksmart, which received widespread critical acclaim, however, the movie received a measly 39% on Rotten Tomatoes. 

To start with the positives, the majority of the cast is able to give a convincing and terrific performance, however Pugh stole the show as Alice. Her acting stands out in this movie, and she is able to pull off the glamorous housewife and distressed woman both at ease. Some other performances that were terrific came from Gemma Chan as Shelley, Chris Pine as Frank, and Kiki Layne as Margaret.

Besides the acting, the candy-like atmosphere and setting gave the movie both a nostalgic and haunting feel. The vintage aura of the 1950s paired with the dystopian tone of the movie bounced off of each other effortlessly.

Although the positives of the movie are strong, its negatives make the overall movie suffer. For instance, although the majority of the cast was able to give a strong performance, leading man Harry Styles seemed to suffer. Although he made an attempt to give emotion to his character Jack, his performance overall weakened the character, and made the emotions that audiences were supposed to feel from his character fall flat as well.

Another critique stems from the overall plot of the movie. Whilst Wilde was able to hit the feminist themes the movie was supposed to showcase, they did not feel revolutionary nor innovative, instead something that audiences have seen time and time again.

While overall Don’t Worry Darling is eye catching, it is certainly not eye opening. Although Pugh’s performance is enough to convince people to flock into theaters to watch this movie, it sadly cannot save the movie overall.

Perhaps the most obvious answer to why Don’t Worry Darling falls flat is due to the multiple controversies surrounding the movie. From Florence Pugh’s alleged “takeover” of the movie from Olivia Wilde due to Wilde’s negligence during the filming process, to Shia Labeouf (who was originally in the movie but was fired by Wilde due to his behavior) revealing that the truth of his departure from the movie, it is certainly disappointing that the scandals behind the movie were far more interesting than the movie itself.

Overall, if one is a fan of 1950s aesthetics, or Harry Styles, this movie may interest them. However, if one is looking for an innovative psychological thriller, they should go looking elsewhere.