DON'T WORRY DARLING
Starring: Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, Olivia Wilde, Gemma Chan, Nick Kroll, and KiKi Layne
Director: Olivia Wilde
Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling doesn’t really work, but not for lack of trying. The film often kindles intrigue, and the first act promises a wild ride to come; however, about halfway into act two, the movie sort of conceptually stalls out, failing to execute its premise to its full potential. While Florence Pugh is as great as ever, the rest of it doesn’t really hold together the way it hopes to, and the third act twist undoes most of the good will the film worked to build. That said, the cinematography, production, and costume designs are quite beautiful sights.
Given the scandal and negative buzz, Don’t Worry Darling presents an interesting case. Although not perfect, it’s still enjoyable. First off, the production design - from the clothes to the houses to the cars - is breathtakingly gorgeous. I want to live in this 1950s oasis. Plus, the mystery stays engaging enough despite getting a bit too lost in itself. Perhaps it favors atmosphere over story, but I appreciated the dark The Stepford Wives meets The Truman Show vibe. All that said, the real question is: Did I like it more than I should have because I expected a disaster? Or is it genuinely pretty decent? Hard to say.
Well, darling, you might want to worry because this high concept thriller falls short on its themes. Don’t get me wrong, Don’t Worry Darling is visually stunning, and Florence Pugh gives an outstanding performance, but the flick barely breaks the surface. It seems to focus more on its style than its substance. I quite enjoyed the twist, which I didn’t see coming, but it felt like the script took so long to build the concept of the story, that it should’ve taken the time to explore it once it got there. In the end, the film left me with more questions than answers.
I loved Don’t Worry Darling until I didn’t. The first two acts had me in the palm of its hand, captivating me with its mystery, before the third act completely lost me. Overall, director Olivia Wilde created a film that is entertaining in the early going, especially with all the crafts working flawlessly, and the entire cast, led wonderfully by Florence Pugh, is amazing (with one exception, you know which one). But there aren’t payoffs to a lot of what was set up, and the answers we do get are just straight-up bad. I found myself mainly disappointed here.