‘Don’t Worry Darling’ Review: Olivia Wilde’s Thriller Girlbosses | Venice 2022
To avoid any discomfort, just pretend you are not addicted to the internet. We will also imagine you have no idea what an “Oscar movie” is or why it was nominated for an award, and that you have no knowledge of film festival premieres or the six-month campaign necessary to win a statue. The new thriller starring Florence Pugh, Chris Pine, and Harry Styles, Don’t Worry Darling, is written and directed by Olivia Wilde, so we can speak about it properly now.
Alice, represented by Pugh, is a housewife in a Palm Springs-looking neighborhood where everybody drinks all night and where she and her husband Jack (Styles) live like they are still on their honeymoon. The clothes and vehicles are right out of the 1950s, and the gender norms and social mores are just as dated. The males of this town of 72 people (and growing!) all commute at once to their classified jobs in the desert, traveling down gravel roads that lead straight into the desert and end at a landing on a hill. After a long day of doing who knows what, they stroll in the front door, and if their partner asks what they do, they could simply say, “You wouldn’t understand.
Pine has had a significant impact on the neighborhood. Also, every weekday morning, he broadcasts a radio show targeted at the Victory area’s housewives for an hour and a half. The ladies are capable of doing all of the housework, cooking, and grocery shopping by themselves. When anything catches their eye at a showroom, they can simply shout, “I’ll take it!” and have it added to the company’s tab.
In Victory, Wilde plays Pugh’s closest friend, whose husband (Nick Kroll) received a promotion and a pinky ring from Pine. To round out the cast, Gemma Chan makes an appearance as Pine’s understanding wife and dancing instructor to the housewives, where she imparts not just dance moves but also a mantra about maintaining order. Naturally, appearances may be deceiving. Alice begins to investigate after she witnesses (or maybe hallucinates) an aircraft accident in the mountains and a suicide atop one of the lavish mansions. And Pine’s character intervenes to challenge the speaker, “argue me.”
More detail than that would be too revealing. Don’t worry, Darling is more of a reserved film than a twisting one. This is quite reasonable, considering that the whole thing is being presented as a blatant gaslighting tactic. However, it is something of an excuse. The movie may have benefited from having the big reveal about Alice and Jack early in the second act, rather than the third. If you Google for an explanation, you could get some poor faith interpretations of the film, but this would eliminate such.
Pause. Let’s return to a world where our readers aren’t all glued to their computers. Without giving anything away, I’ll get to what I like and don’t like about Don’t Worry Darling, even if much of the intriguing conversation will center on the disclosure of what’s going on. To begin, Pugh’s passionate performance is crucial to the success of Darling. She gives it her all, just like she’s in an old-school Hitchcockian thriller. She’s attractive, frantic, afraid, disillusioned, and classified. There is no possible universe in which the film would be better off without her, and any carbon duplicate film with a different actress would likely do worse. Pine, too, is aware of the task at hand, albeit he has fewer options. An improved version of Darling exists, expanding on his past to emphasize the “Whose time is it?” central question even further. The two of them have a running joke about how he keeps repeating, “Our time!” to Styles. The period-appropriate clothing and set design will make you want to shout “I’d take it!” in the clouds. In addition, Matthew Libatique successfully combines several photographic styles, such as those depicting Busby Berkeley’s legs, reflections in mirrors, and kicks in the desert sand.
Simply told, the film looks great, and Wilde, Pugh, and Pine all do excellent jobs of keeping the audience guessing. However, it falls short of providing a satisfying conclusion because it sits on its cards for too long and rehashes a lot of ground that has already been covered. Black Mirror’s mellow take on The Stepford Wives is entertaining, but the current elements, especially those involving the men of Victory, could have benefited from more preemptive focus. Even though there are plenty of press quotations to assist us, Darling avoids confronting current toxic masculinity head-on. It fits the model of the ’50s most naturally. Maybe it’s to protect Styles’ hunk cred, but Pine seems like the type who would do whatever is necessary to succeed. The fact that he can’t explore this further is a real shame. Maybe it’s because the ’50s aesthetic is so enticing, but nobody seemed all that interested in taking a look at the ugliness.
Don’t Panic In its most effective form, Darling is a light-hearted theatrical thriller with a few satisfying paybacks. However, the effect is not as painful as one might expect. Darling decided to opt for girl boss when it could have sucker punched. However, it’s a lot more entertaining than the permanently connected already think.