I purposely went into the screening of “Don’t Worry Darling” knowing as little as possible about the movie because all I heard from critics was how disappointed they were. Boo.
There has also been outrageous gossip centered around Olivia Wilde. I didn’t want that nonsense to taint my view of the story or how she presented it. I hope you’ll be able to do the same thing because, while not being a perfect movie by any stretch of the imagination, it certainly is not as bad as some have led us to believe. My advice is that you go and see for yourself. If you listen to some, you’ll miss out on Florence Pugh’s performances as “Alice.” You don’t want to do this. Alice is the main character who questions what the Victory Project is really all about. This project they’re all involved with is some sort of research experiment and where all the mystery falls.
It’s Alice wanting to know more about it where all the thrills come into the film.
You’ll think you were watching “The Stepford Wives” a few minutes in. The story is set in the 1950s. As in the past, it’s clear that women know their place, which is in the kitchen and, of course, doing as they’re told. In a well-orchestrated scene, the wives cook breakfast, the husbands prepare for their day, eat and leave for work.
The visuals around this are absolutely astonishing! They’re so captivating and even thought-provoking (in that it makes you wonder how people dealt with living this way). They also all have comfortable lives with no cares in the world, thanks to Frank (Chris Pine), the Jim Jones type head of the Victory Project.
He doesn’t want anyone inquiring about his work or rocking the boat. He’ll immediately confront and intimidate anyone who does, sometimes with just a look, to keep it all under wraps.
Alice and her husband Jack (Harry Styles) are pretty young. Though they’re so in love with one another they can barely stand to be apart, Jack still discourages his wife from speaking outside of the stated rules. Probably because of her youth, his demands aren’t always adhered to. Unable to help herself, she begins to delve into what’s really going on with Frank. There’s an unsettling feeling about this paradise only felt by Alice and her friend Margaret. Things don’t go well for her friend and inquiring about Margaret only gets Alice into trouble herself. Perhaps shutting one’s mouth is the correct course of action after all.
Outstanding cinematography by Matthew Libatique (Pi, Black Swan, Venom), spectacular editing and production design put you directly into the timeframe you have to be in to buy the adversities Alice meets. What Libatique brings to the table may even overshadow what the director does, it’s that good. Well, no. That’s not fair to say. I’ll put it this way instead. They work together beautifully. The structure of “Don’t Worry Darling” holds up and the plot twist, in the end, makes for solid “What did I just see?” material for later. In anticipation of something new, I’ll be honest, there are plot points too obvious to keep the attention of the frequent moviegoer, but not so much so that this should be skipped. Ignore the negative media attention and see what Wilde has for you. What she offers is an invaluable lesson with entertainment value to boot.
Don’t Worry Darling
Directed by: Olivia Wilde
Writers: Katie Silberman, Carey Van Dyke, Shane Van Dyke
Starring: *Oscar nominee Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Olivia Wilde, Gemma Chan, KiKi Layne, and Chris Pine
Run Time: 2h 2m
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures