Don’t Worry It Didn’t Suck: Olivia Wilde’s Long Anticipated Film “Don’t Worry Darling” Hits Theaters


Photo courtesy of IMDb.

Brooke Benne, Writer

This review contains spoilers at the bottom of the story.

  “Don’t Worry Darling” was announced in July 2019, with Olivia Wilde set to direct and star in it. Since its announcement, the film received a lot of buzz and the tabloids have been filled with rumors of drama amongst the cast. The saying goes “all publicity is good publicity”, but this film really puts that notion to the test.

  In Dec. 2020, “Variety” reported that Shia LaBeouf was let go as the male lead due to poor behavior and to make women like lead actress, Florence Pugh, more comfortable on set. LaBeouf later came out stating this was not true. He released a video Wilde sent him asking him to stay on the film and posted text messages between him and Pugh clarifying they were getting along just fine. This was very shocking and made me question Wilde after her integrity was ripped to shreds. 

 Talk of tension between Pugh and Wilde skyrocketed after fans noticed Pugh wasn’t promoting the film on social media, but still promoting her other upcoming films like “Oppenheimer”. 

  Pugh didn’t do any press on the film except for the 2022 Venice Film Festival, where even more drama surfaced after it appeared the cast wasn’t getting along. A video of Harry Styles supposedly spitting on Chris Pine went viral, along with many awkward pictures and interviews where it appeared like Pugh and Wilde were not on the best terms. Early on I tried to ignore tabloid news about the cast drama in order to remain positive about the release, but after this I was beginning to worry about the film’s quality if the actors and crew were this divided. Going into this film I did my best to block out what I knew about the behind the scenes drama in order to have an honest reaction. 

  The actual film follows Alice Chambers (Florence Pugh), a 1950’s housewife with a seemingly perfect life. She and her husband Jack (Harry Styles) reside in the community of Victory, an experimental company town that is the home to all male residents. While all the men work their top secret jobs all day, the wives in the community are in charge of cooking, cleaning, and personal upkeep, but ultimately have the role of serving and loving their “perfect” husbands. If Alice’s hum-drum life wasn’t already appearing like a personal hell for some viewers, odd occurrences in the community tell her Victory is not as pleasant as it seems. 

  It is no surprise that Florence Pugh’s performance is spectacular and is the main reason why I enjoyed the film so much. She is an acting powerhouse. Watching her range is always a pleasure, and this film is no exception. 

  Harry Styles did a perfectly average job with his performance as Jack. There were a few scenes in the film where his delivery was off, most noticeably in a scene with Pugh where he over-acted and led to the scene being not convincing enough. I felt like his main role was to be eye-candy for viewers which isn’t his fault, and I wouldn’t mind seeing him in more films. 

    Altogether, “Don’t Worry Darling” wasn’t half bad. It had great cinematography, music, and wardrobe, but it had many flaws in the plot. At times, the buildup was rushed and certain scenes lacked proper execution. It was not as good as I hoped it would be. I feel many other critics and other movie goers who were excited about the film release felt the same way. Rotten Tomatoes and other review sites have been too harsh with their ratings, and the movie probably wouldn’t have been perceived as bad if it weren’t for all the drama surrounding this film. 

 “Don’t Worry Darling” is currently in theaters for anyone to form their own opinion. 

 Spoiler alert for anyone who has not seen the film. 

  One of the biggest let downs of this film was its failure to land the message of sexism. 

  There are only a few hints of the men in the town treating their wives as less than, which would be fine, but the plot twist of all the women being kept there against their will makes that point not drive home. 

  The message of gaslighting was very apparent but not as effective for an entire film. It would’ve been nice to see more interaction between the other characters and how the women can also tear each other down for personal gain and status rather than seeing the men as the bigger issue.

  The twist itself was very obvious and somewhat disappointing. It was lackluster and left lots of questions, like what the airplane meant and more. 

  The ending had a few highlights with the car chase scene and Alice reaching headquarters, but the wives discovering the truth and the demise of Frank came out of nowhere. 

  Frank’s wife (Gemma Chan) has little character to go off of and she, like all the other wives, was loyal to her husband who exhibited little flaws. It would have been nice to see moments where the husbands were clearly in the wrong and have the movie conclude with the women finally stepping up to them. 

  This movie wasn’t terrible. It was entertaining to watch in the theater, although I don’t have any plans to rewatch it. Florence Pugh’s performance really saved it for me, keeping me engaged and sympathizing with her character. I would recommend this film to anyone who enjoyed movies like “Stepford Wives” (2004), “Stay” (2005), andThe Truman Show” (1998). However, those movies are much better. 

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