Olivia Wilde’s 2022 drama thriller film Don’t Worry Darling is a disappointing film that wastes the potential of its idea going nowhere and leaving us with a dissatisfying ending.
Before I continue with my negative thoughts on this film I have some positive notes. Chris Pine, Florence Pugh, and Olivia Wilde are fantastic and almost every moment they share on screen is great. They are really great actors and I hope that Florence’s back is alright after carrying the entire film.
The score by John Powell is great, it goes for a more textured score and fits the tone of the film for the most part, as does the rest of the soundtrack with a great selection of 50’s jazzy bangers.
The set design is fantastic, they struck the landing on a idyllic retro futuristic 50’s suburbia with just a hint of something being off. The period accurate feeling of everything just fits nicely together.
That’s the most positive I can be about this film, as the rest of this film is an exercise on disappointing the audiences. I’m sorry to anyone who was excited for this film.
Let’s start with the main reason a majority of the people who went to see this film, Harry Styles. The man can write a good song and carry a tune but man he cannot act. I don’t know what it is about the man but every time he opens his mouth I just get pulled out of the film. His acting isn’t the worst part of the film, but I wish it was.
The worst part of this film would have to be the plot, and man is it a doozy. As to not spoil anything just yet, the plot does nothing and yet feels bloated. There are things that happen in this film that lead nowhere and are threads are either left hanging by the end of the film or are shoved in with no rhyme or reason, leaving me to wonder of Olivia Wilde just cut a bunch of scenes from the film without thinking about it.
SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT (even though this film isn’t worth avoiding spoilers for)
To properly dissect what all went wrong let me sum it up for you first.
In an idyllic 50’s suburban neighborhood known as “The Victory Project”, wherein the women are stay at home housewives while the men go to work, our protagonist Alice (Florence Pugh) witnesses a plane crash into the mountains in the distance and goes to check it out before she wonders onto the Victory Project headquarters. Things start to go awry as Alice’s reality starts breaking, walls closing in and things being off, people around her acting strange, Alice finally breaks and realizes that everything around her isn’t real. She’s trapped inside a simulation by her husband as are most of the women in The Victory Project.
I’m personally disappointed by the ending of the film but I’m not smart enough to know how to end a mystery like that. “It was all a simulation” though just feels like a cop out. I can’t do much better myself, but if we were sticking with the simulation idea it would’ve been better if it wasn’t just an advanced version of a VRchat server ran by a bunch of incels who want to go back to misogynistic idealism version of the 50’s.
In the film the only women who know they’re in a simulation before Alice finds out are Frank’s wife Shelley (Gemma Chan) her neighbors Margret (Kiki Layne) and Bunny (Olivia Wilde). Margret finds out herself because she went out to the desert with her son and found out and Bunny volunteered to go into the simulation as two live an idyllic life with her two children who she lost in the real world.
Shelley just apparently knows, assumedly because she’s married to Frank (Chris Pine) who is the head of The Victory Project. She also apparently had ulterior motives to take over the project? Maybe? Shelley’s character is a bit of a mystery as most scenes with her have no reason to exist and if we’re removed from the film it would not impact the story in the slightest. The one seen that kinda makes sense for her to be in, could be easily rewritten. Shelley shouldn’t exist, no offense to Gemma Chan, but her character has no purpose in the film other than kinda just being there for most of the film?
If I was Olivia Wilde, I would’ve made Bunny be Frank’s wife. It would make more sense both story wise and character wise. Though Frank doesn’t make too much sense as his motives are unknown. He tells Alice that he’s been looking for someone to “challenge him.” What does he mean by this? Who the fuck knows? Challenge him to figure out you’re in a simulation? I’ve got no clue. Make it make sense.
Margret, Alice’s other neighbor, also kinda knows. Maybe? It’s not clear. Sometimes she’s asking questions and sometimes she vague about what she knows. It’s alright though because eventually Margret just fucking offs herself, but not like jumping off the roof like the trailer implied or something, no just kinda standing on the roof and slitting her throat. A lot of questions there but let’s not dwell too long on that because she comes into the film, says some vague creepy shit, then logs out of life.
The film has all these moments that just happen for no reason like Alice trying to clean a window then the wall closes in on her and smushes her against the glass but then nothing came of that, or Alice realizing her eggs were empty, or Alice seeing Margret in the mirror during ballet class, or Alice seeing the plan crash which was the catalyst of the plot that started everything. They all just happen and then go nowhere or go unexplained. Almost of the ‘creepy’ or uncanny stuff you see in the trailer is literally it, like as if those scenes were made to make you ask questions for the movie to answer them but then the movie never answers them.
The film does nothing, goes nowhere, and ends with a dissatisfying ending. Do I recommend this film? No. Do I regret watching this film. Not really, but kinda? If you desperately want to watch this film because your thirsty for Harry Styles eating out Florence Pugh, just wait to watch it at home or just watch some porn and dream about it.
The most interesting stuff about this film isn’t even in the film itself, but the behind the scenes drama with everyone, or the fact that the lady next to me in the theater was very obviously playing with a vibrator during the Florence Pugh and Harry Styles scenes and making it very awkward for everyone around her.