What is Witty Watching?

Don’t Worry Darling – Movie Review
September 26, 2022

Synopsis: A 1950s housewife living with her husband in a utopian experimental community begins to worry that his glamorous company could be hiding disturbing secrets.
Director: Olivia Wilde
Stars: Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, Olivia Wilde, Gemma Chan

There has been a lot of hype and controversy around this film. From a hype standpoint the trailer looks very interesting, but a lot of the chatter has been about the offscreen drama. Did Harry Styles spit on Chris Pine? Why hasn’t Florence Pugh been actively promoting the film? What happened with Shia LaBeouf?

All valid questions I suppose and none of which we will answer in this review.  Let’s focus on the movie, shall we?

We meet Alice and Jack Chambers, Pugh and Styles, and they are a happily married couple living in a community called Victory. Victory has a solid Stepford Wives feeling to it. Each day when the men head out to work, each woman walks their husband to their car, says goodbye and then heads back in the house to start cleaning and this is all done in unison. The men then drive, individually, from the bright neighborhood that they live into the office which is in the middle of a desert. (Why don’t they carpool?)
Jack is doing well in the organization and has caught the attention of the leader Frank, Chris Pine. While most people seem to become speechless in Frank’s presence, Jack’s confidence gets him through.

You would think the monotony of doing the same thing every day would get to Alice, but she seems to be doing ok until she sees that Margaret, one of the woman who also lives in Victory, is having an adverse reaction to the community. Margaret basically plays the ‘Andrew from Get Out’ role as she is trying to issue warnings, but she is being dismissed until Alice witnesses a tragic accident involving her.

Alice is growing more and more uncomfortable with their living situation and her concerns are falling on deaf ears as her husband is more interested in keeping his boss happy as opposed to his wife.

Don’t Worry Darling is a double edge sword. On the one hand it is beautifully shot. Matthew Libatique, the same cinematographer for Black Swan and A Star is Born has crafted a beautiful film. The colours are vibrant that mix well with the costume design from Arianne Phillips. The score by John Powell is also accurate for the theme of the film as it is haunting at times.

Except for performances from Pugh and Pine the rest of the cast is wasted. I was in an audience that was predominantly Harry Styles fans and even his most loyal fans broke into laughter when he delivered serious lines in the film. Why? His character wasn’t interesting. I am not submitting the pop star turned actor can’t act. His performance in the upcoming My Policeman proves he can. The fact that Christopher Nolan cast him in Dunkirk shows he can. This simply wasn’t a great performance.

I had little to no interest in what the other characters were doing as I didn’t find them interesting but versions of characters, I had seen time and time again.

The best actor on the canvass is Pugh who continues to add to her impressive body of work. Her performances are always stellar and this one is no exception. Unfortunately, it turns into something of a one-woman show.

I have been critical of actors who sit in the directors’ chair, and I’m left somewhat confused here. I saw Wilde’s last film Booksmart and I know she is capable of making a good movie, she just didn’t with Don’t Worry Darling.

There are clear influences to Stepford Wives and Suspiria but this movie never carves out its own niche. The movie ends more abruptly than the end of The Sopranos to the point where the audience is left wondering…Wait…that’s it? (These words were overheard in the theatre)

I saw a special IMAX screening of the film, not that special and not in IMAX, where several of the cast members were there for a Q&A. Most of the cast who attended this Q&A barely had any material in the film. The main star wasn’t present and while we aren’t going to talk about why Pugh isn’t actively promoting it all I can say is I wouldn’t be quick to promote this film either. I would simply take my cheque and move on.

Don’t Worry Darling has had a lot of hype around it and it doesn’t deliver. Through a chunk of the film Alice just wants to get away. After seeing the film, I can understand why.

Grade: C-

Where can you find Witty?


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *