DON’T WORRY DARLING MADE ME WORRY, DARLING
A REVIEW By Christina Tsetsakoy
Olivia Wilde’s psychological thriller, Don’t Worry Darling, hit theaters on September 23, and it was not what I had expected.
The movie received much publicity before its debut because of drama surrounding its cast, but no amount of talk could redeem the movie. Wilde tried to take a female empowerment position with Don’t Worry Darling by taking a crack at the societal norms of a 1950’s household and the general impacts of toxic masculinity, but all of her actions outside the film could not be masked by her movie idea.
She originally hired actor Shia LaBeouf to play the character of Jack Chambers, a role that later was given to Harry Styles, and even after the allegations about LaBeouf’s abuse came out, she tried to keep him on set. After he left, she tried to play it off like it was scheduling conflicts and then changed her story to say that she fired him to protect her co-stars from Shia’s uncomfortable presence. Wilde was all about supporting the main lead, Florence Pugh, who plays Alice Chambers, but a video of her diminishing Pugh’s worries about Shia’s role contradicts her previous statements.
Despite these questionable acts from Wilde, I still went to see the movie, admittedly because Harry Styles was acting in it. As a long time fan of Harry Styles, I was super excited to see the movie in spite of the controversies, but I was left severely disappointed.
I wanted to give Styles’ acting the benefit of the doubt since it was his first time as a lead in a movie, but I do not think he should have been cast as the supporting lead. He is inexperienced and compared to the other actors like Pugh and Chris Pine, he was struggling to keep up to their standards of acting. He needed more practice with these types of roles, but I have high hopes for his new upcoming movie, My Policeman.
The movie had a lot of opportunities for redemption, like its impeccable cinematography, casting and costuming. I was enthralled by the way Pugh and Kiki Layne portrayed the struggles of their characters and how they made the audience also question their own reality. However, while the overall production looked impressive, there was a poor execution of the script because of the multiple plot holes left in the movie which left many members of the audience confused as to why they were even mentioned in the first place.
An example of this is the poster of the movie which features red planes. This made viewers assume that they are important to the movie when in reality, the planes have little significance and it is not explained clearly in the movie. Throughout the rest of the movie, there were many other plot lines that were increasingly difficult to keep up with like the hallucinations Alice was having. I left the movie with so many questions that I couldn’t focus on the few positive aspects of the film.
I think that if Wilde focused more on the backstory of the main characters, Alice and Jack, in the beginning of the movie rather in the last couple of minutes, it would have cleared up a lot of the questions viewers had. They kept unnecessary parts of the film, like the intimate scenes between Jack and Alice, but completely glossed over any scenes that Margret, played by Layne, was in. Margret was arguably the most important character in the movie next to Alice and Jack, and it was sad to find out that the majority of her scenes were cut out of the movie. Margret’s story was something the movie should have focused on and used to their advantage.
The redeemable aspect of Don’t Worry Darling was the movie experience. The theater was filled with enthusiasm and positivity since the majority were fans of Styles. Speaking with some other viewers after the movie, we all agreed that it was not what we had expected. Overall I would rate this movie a solid five out of ten just because of Florence Pugh (and of course seeing Styles on the big screen, even if he wasn’t perfect in the role). I would not go out of my way to recommend this movie, but I think that the experience of watching it is worth going to see it at least once.