One of the most anticipated films of 2022 hit the theaters on this previous Friday. “Don’t Worry Darling” from director Olivia Wilde, is a psychological thriller all about control.
The film seems to be set in a diverse 1950s suburbia. Alice (Florence Pugh) and Jack (Harry Styles) are one of the few married couples who live in Victory, an experimental society in the California desert. All the men who reside in Victory work together on a top-secret project, leaving the wives to conform to a housewife lifestyle in an almost identical manner. The women are told to not ask questions about their husband’s jobs. They must simply cook, clean, please their husbands and are not to leave the safe neighborhood.
Alice and Jack’s lives seem perfect. They are always intimate, and they have a tight group of friends and neighbors. They seem to be on the same page and are happy with how their life together is going. It is portrayed to be a beautiful relationship.
As the film progresses, things start to shift when a friend of Alice, Margaret (Kiki Layne), starts to speak against Victory. Everyone dismisses her, except for Alice, who also starts to question the authenticity of Frank (Chris Pine), the creator of the Victory project. Alice believes something is terribly wrong, and everyone gaslights her into believing everything is fine.
Pine gives a chilling performance as he steps into the role of running this cult-like society. His talent could have been used to explain many vague details about Victory, there was a lot left unexplained that would have benefitted the film to tie together. It was a missed opportunity.
Nick Kroll and Olivia Wilde gave the right amount of comedic relief in their supporting roles. It is refreshing to see Kroll take on a more sinister role and show what he can really do as an actor, even with limited scenes.
Lead actors Styles and Pugh are two different tastes. Styles took on his first lead role and it was obvious. Surely stepping into this role to replace Shia LaBeouf can be intimidating as inexperienced in acting as Styles is, he still gave an OK performance. Pugh always shines with talent, there is nobody doing it quite like her in the film industry. She has an elegance to her that can’t be copied, and watching her work on screen is breathtaking. Pugh’s persistent, captivating performance is admirable.
“Don’t Worry Darling” is a visually pleasing film. Cinematographer Matthew Libatique did a wonderful job. The choreography and costume design was intriguing, despite the confusing plot. There should have been just as much focus on filling plot holes as there was on making the film pleasing to the eye. The pacing of the film was unsteady and it had an abrupt ending with no explanation at all. It was rushed. The story could have been more successful if there were more questions answered.
Despite all of the behind the scenes drama and bad press during production, everyone came together to make an exceptionally well-made film and that deserves praise. Unfortunately, the story was disappointing. I don’t think asking for clarity with psychological thrillers is absurd, it is necessary to understand the development of the film. There were many loose ends I would have enjoyed seeing tied up. There is just something missing with Wilde’s sophomore film.
“Don’t Worry Darling”is in theaters now.