The movie premiere of the dystopian thriller, Don’t Worry Darling, captured the attention of audiences worldwide due to the drama between superstar cast members: Olivia Wilde, Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, and Chris Pine. Rumors of breakups, secret feuds, and even speculation of Harry Styles spitting on Chris Pine captivated social media. There is no doubt that the offscreen drama was entertaining, but can the same be said for the movie itself?
The short answer: No. Don’t Worry Darling fell remarkably short of the expectations it set.
The plot centers around the seemingly perfect life of 1950s housewife Alice Chambers (Florence Pugh) in the utopian society of Victory. Her perfect life is encapsulated by an ideal relationship with her husband, Jack Chambers (Harry Styles), and best friend, Bunny (Olivia Wilde). However, the polished community begins to reveal sinister secrets as a mystery unfolds when Alice investigates the company her husband works for.
As promising as the movie sounded, it greatly disappointed. The ending was easily predictable and the plot was subpar. The setting of the 1950s housewife turned heroine did not come off as intended, but instead presented as a misogynistic trainwreck. In trying so hard to disprove gendered stereotypes, the movie further perpetuated them.
Moreover, no amount of good acting could save this feeble plot, thankfully, it didn’t need to because there was little good acting in it.
Harry Styles had his debut lead actor performance in Don’t Worry Darling, and many hoped it would be great. However, he should probably stick to his strength: singing.
He spent the majority of the movie either looking thoughtfully at Florence Pugh or smiling and walking out the door, which to be fair, he did moderately well. The places where he did get to show his acting chops, he fell flat.
During his most emotional scene in which his character’s wife was taken away to receive shock treatment to clear her mind, he slammed his hands on the steering wheel, screaming. Instead of the genuinely anguished reaction he hoped to portray, his performance came off as cringe-worthy.
Chris Pine’s and Florence Pough’s performances were substantially better, considering they are actors by profession, but respectively, not even close to their full potential, which is seen in films such as Midsommar and Star Trek.
Don’t Worry Darling did have some redeemable qualities, though, as the cinematography and the set design were stellar and at times, intentionally horrifying.
Despite the A-list cast and the promise of greatness, Don’t Worry Darling is nothing more than a basic movie bound for reruns on late-night cable.
If you are looking for thrillers that inspire strength in the female spirit, I would suggest watching Ready or Not, or the Invisible Man.