Title – Don’t Worry Darling (2022)
Director – Olivia Wilde (Booksmart)
Cast – Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Olivia Wilde, Chris Pine, Gemma Chan, KiKi Layne
Plot – In 1950’s America young couple Alice (Pugh) and Jack (Styles) live their life in the seemingly idylic town of Victory where husbands head off to work on a secretive project designed by the mysterious Frank (Pine) and the wives and girlfriends tend to the homes and ignore the warning signs that something about their community isn’t as it seems.
“All they ask of us is to stay here. Where it’s safe”
Review by Eddie on 06/10/2022
It’s been hard to escape the press and media hype surrounding Olivia Wilde’s sophomore directional outing Don’t Worry Darling over the last few months but sadly all the true and potentially cleverly marketed conjured up behind the scenes drama associated with Wilde’s star-studded ensemble is far more exciting and interesting than the film itself.
A film loaded with potential, with screenwriter Katie Silberman’s mysterious script one that created a bidding war amongst heavy-hitting movie studios keen to bring this 1950’s thriller to life, Darling ends up being similar in substance and delivery to a divisive M. Night Shyamalan film (think The Village or Lady in the Water) with its many great ideas ending up feeling half-baked and half-explored as Wilde fails to give the initially intriguing tale of the seemingly idyllic town of Victory and the residents which reside in it a story that feels worthy of the foundation at its core.
Getting stuck straight into the thick of things with little in the way of backstory or set-up, Wilde entrusts her leading lady Florence Pugh and her real-life (at the moment) partner Harry Styles with the films chances of success as we are introduced to their loved up/roast loving couple Alice and Jack, who have taken up residence in Chris Pine’s Frank’s community that see’s its male residents head off for secretive work for the Victory Project while the town’s wives and girlfriends live out a Stepford Wives like life at home tending to their residences and organising lavish dinner parties.
To be fair, both lead performers do an amicable job with Pugh once more showcasing why she is one of the most in-demand actresses working today, even if her role here does feel like its getting close to a time where she will need to step away from another Midsommar like character, her on screen characters suffering some serious cases of bad relationship blues but it’s the way in which Darling’s story slowly unfolds with an increasing sense that we are destined to be disappointed by a pay-off and reveal that doesn’t make all of the films tension building moments worth it.
Beautifully staged and captured by cinematographer Matthew Libatique, lavishly costumed by Arianne Phillips and nerve-shreddingly scored by composer John Powell, there’s a lot of prestigious feeling parts to Darling and it’s undeniably pleasing in an aesthetically minded point of view but there’s none of the energy or charm that was present in Wilde’s first foray behind the camera with Booksmart.
Both the underwritten role of Frank and the mostly charm-free relationship between Alice and Jack is a major flaw to a film that spends so much time trying to make us care for them, with hopes perhaps that their sparkling romance will help hide the fact we are left with a film that promises a lot but delivers and explains very little on a quest to become nothing more than a hugely disappointingly outing from a group of talented artists all capable of much more.
Final Say –
A huge tease of a movie, Don’t Worry Darling might have been something special had the stars all aligned but as it stands it’s a pretty but hollow experience that has it’s final chances of success squashed in a big way come the films big reveal and supposedly white knuckle finale that ends up more comical rather than shocking, with far too many loose ends and plot holes to be considered a competent end product.
2 deviled eggs out of 5