In the past month or so, you’ve probably heard buzz about the new movie Don’t Worry Darling, specifically, buzz about the drama between castmates. From the romance between director Olivia Wilde and male lead Harry Styles, to the feud between Wilde and female lead Florence Pugh, or the viral video of what looks like Styles spitting on costar Chris Pine, the movie and its cast have made headlines for weeks. The movie follows couple Jack and Alice as they live in a seemingly perfect 1950’s community called Victory. While the men leave during the day for top-secret work, the women enjoy all the luxuries and commodities Victory has to offer, as long as they follow one rule: don’t ask questions. When Alice starts to get strange flashes of memories and cracks in the system, she starts to question what’s really going on in Victory, discovering how unperfect it truly is. As someone who loves dystopian settings and psychological thrillers, as well as the cast, I was excited for the movie but didn’t have high expectations. Harry Styles is best known for his vocal talents, not his acting, although he has been in a couple of movies prior. After reviews from the early viewing of the movie came out with mixed reviews, I was in fact— on the contrary to the movie’s title— worried, darling. Nonetheless, I was still excited to go and when I finally saw the movie for myself a couple of days after the release…I was left speechless.
The whole movie plays with your mind and you feel just as insane as Alice does. What’s going on? What are they hiding? I’m not going to spoil anything, but the last 30 minutes of the movie had me literally on the edge of my seat. The whole theater cheered, screamed, and gasped together throughout the 2 hour film. Many people went to see the movie just for Harry Styles, which is fine if you want to support your favorite celebrity, but were probably disappointed in his mediocre acting. It wasn’t terrible, but Pugh’s performance was phenomenal and easily topped Styles’. The plot twist at the end that reveals the truth of The Victory Project is what really sold me— I was not expecting how messed up it was.
The movie is a commentary on the oppression of women and their willingness to comply with men and society. We see the women live each monotonous day with a smile on their faces serving their husbands. They cook, clean, take care of their husbands, and while the men are at work, they go shopping or lounge by the pool with their friends. They have only one rule: don’t ask questions. Again, I won’t give any major spoilers, but in the film we see what happens to Alice’s friend Margaret when she questions the mission of The Victory Project and soon, the same starts to happen to Alice. When the women in the movie think for themselves, there are consequences.
While I thought the movie was excellent, I do want to point out the concerns critics and movie-goers alike had to say. First is with the plot holes and unexplained ending. Many claim that there are many plot holes in the movie, such as the meaning of the red plane, that are brushed over and not explored. While I agree that some plot points didn’t make full sense, I don’t think it was simply lazy or shallow writing— I think it was intended to be this way. It’s common for psychological thrillers to have ambiguous moments and endings that leave fans theorizing their true meanings, and that’s exactly what’s happening with Don’t Worry Darling. There has not been a day in the past week that I haven’t seen a “Don’t Worry Darling theories” video on my Tik Tok “For You Page”. It’s fun for fans to get together to debate and share their thoughts on the movie and try to uncover its layers. Not only does it get fans involved, it also adds to the scare-factor of psychological thrillers. Second is the removal of scenes featuring Margaret, a pretty important character in my opinion. Kiki Layne, who plays Margaret, posted a video and photos of her and Ari’el Stachel, who plays Margaret’s husband Kevin, on set with part of the caption including “They cut us from most of the movie, but we thriving in real life.” It seems based on the caption that there were more scenes featuring Margaret and Kevin that were edited out, but no one from the DWD team has confirmed nor denied it. People have pointed out that it’s strange and unfair that two people of color actors had their scenes cut out, especially considering Margaret’s importance to the story, which again I won’t spoil.
Don’t Worry, Darling is definitely worth watching if you like psychological thrillers and their ambiguity. The open-endedness of it made me enjoy it even more and I would like to see it again to try to make more sense of it. I can understand why people wouldn’t like that, but for those who naturally look into things deeper, it’s fun to dissect. Pugh’s acting truly was terrific and although the film itself has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of only 2.8, I think it’s likely she’ll be nominated for awards. I encourage you to see the film for her performance and the ending because I think that’s what made me love it so much, but don’t take my word for it. If you’re still not convinced, don’t worry, darling…go see it for yourself!