Don’t worry darling, he won’t get far on foot!
“Don’t Worry Darling” is directed by Olivia Wilde, written by Katie Silberman, and stars Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Wilde, Gemma Chan, KiKi Layne, Nick Kroll, and Chris Pine. It tells the story of Alice and Jack Chambers, a young, happy couple in the 1950s living in the seemingly perfect company town of Victory, California, which has been created and paid for by the mysterious company for which Jack works. Curiosity about the nature of her husband’s work on the secret “Victory Project” begins to consume Alice. Cracks then begin to form in their utopian life as her investigation into the project raises tensions within the community. With so much drama and hype leading up to the release, it was quite a surreal experience to finally see what was causing all the ruckus. Having seen the film, it might have been much ado about nothing. “Don’t Worry Darling” has an intriguing premise, strong performances, and a striking visual style but the bones of this film seem to be rotten. The film seems to know what it wants to be, but can’t seem to capture it.
Olivia Wilde appears to have found herself in a classic sophomore slump. A film brimming with rich ideas, strong visual motifs, and an expertly executed aesthetic style, “Don’t Worry Darling” ends up being surprisingly underwhelming. Wilde is able to craft a few really great sequences, but with a script lacking any real personality or identity, the film ends up devolving into a more generic thriller. Wilde hints at a darker world brimming beneath the surface but seems to bail on the concept by the third act.
The script by Katie Silberman may be the main culprit here, however. An unclear narrative coupled with clumsily executed plot developments creates quite a messy experience. The film can at times be incredibly intriguing and inspired, but when it comes down to actually answering these promises, the film flounders. It just doesn’t quite stick the landing.
Florence Pugh gives an incredible performance in the film and is probably the only thing holding it together. Proving to be one of our best working actresses, she holds the film on her shoulders. Chris Pine gives another inspired performance as our community leader and eats up every frame he is in. Nick Kroll and Olivia Wilde also turn in strong supporting performances. Harry Styles, our main course, gives it the old college try. While it is clear he struggles with the higher emotional beats, Styles delivers a serviceable performance that never quite takes off. For his first go in the leading man role, it’s not too bad.
In short, “Don’t Worry Darling” is one of the bigger wastes of potential in recent years. 2/5