When there's this much drama and noise around a new movie, it usually means one thing and one thing only: It sucks. Which is why I'm here, fresh from a preview, to report back about all the crucial details.
Here is everything you need to know about Don't Worry Darling.
What's it about?
The tale revolves around Alice Chambers (Florence Pugh) and her husband, Jack (Harry Styles). The saucy young married couple live in a beautiful but isolated community where all the husbands work for the mysterious Victory Project, and all the wives stay home and keep things looking pretty. When one of the wives starts behaving erratically, Alice suspects all might not be as perfect as it seems. She goes on a hunt for the truth that may ultimately destroy her cozy existence.
Who is this for?
Anyone who doesn't mind leaving the theater feeling three times uglier than when they sat down. Don't Worry Darling is aesthetically very beautiful throughout, awash with things (and people) that are perfectly symmetrical, and constantly taunting us with scenes that involve entire walls of mirrors.
If it wasn't for the presence of Normal Looking Human Nick Kroll, Jonah from Veep (Timothy Simons), and a scene at the end where Harry Styles looks gross (no, I don't know how they did it either), I'd say DWD should come with a warning. "The following contains unfeasibly high levels of unattainable beauty. Viewer discretion is advised."
Is it a bad movie?
No. It really isn't, I swear. But boy howdy, does this thing need an edit. It could have been so great with an edit!
At its core, Don't Worry Darling is quite clever. It's also not as predictable as I had expected; the suspense at the end, in particular, is wonderful. But somebody needed to rein this thing in. Plot points are made repeatedly and to the detriment of pace. Weird things happen to enhance mood that create plot holes. (That weird earthquake-like rumbling you see in the trailer? Don't expect an explanation for that, nor for a bunch of other trippy things Alice experiences.) At one point, two characters disappear and we never, ever find out what happened to them.
Most perplexing of all, there is a Big Party Scene towards the end of the movie whose only purpose is to loudly repeat everything we've already learned, just in a different aesthetically pleasing sort of way. The scene's reasons for still being in the movie are, quite transparently:
Dita Von Teese doing a thing in it
A big band (with a really unsubtle name) doing a thing in it
Harry Styles doing an utterly inexplicable tap dance in it
If Wilde wanted to keep this scene so badly, she should've cut out a few reveals in the run up to it.
Why did Harry Styles wear that shirt at the Venice Film Festival premiere?
The answer is as inexplicable as his on-screen tap dancing. Maybe he was giving his girlfriend an excuse to not stand next to him? Maybe it was a cry for help? It's best that we all just scrub our eyeballs and try to move on with our lives.
Is the acting any good?
Yes. Across the board. And it's particularly great when it comes to the two leads. This being a movie that revolves around a shallow, pleasure-driven life full of shallow, pleasure-driven people means there are few opportunities early on for the actors to dig their teeth in. But as soon as the cracks start to show in the Victory community, almost everyone here is given space to shine.
Styles is a revelation, successfully managing to make you forget he's actually famous for doing something else. And Pugh works her ass off to give Alice depth and character, even when the material reduces her to little more than Happy Housewife Who Likes Doin' It On Tables. In the end, Pugh makes Alice someone to genuinely root for.
Did Olivia Wilde's relationship with Harry Styles affect the movie?
How in the ever-loving LaBeouf should I know? This should be fairly obvious (Twitter tells me it's not), but the only people who know what went down on that movie set are the people who worked on that movie set. Which, sure, did include Shia "LOOK AT THESE EMAILS" LaBeouf for a while. But does anyone really want to side with that guy after the whole FKA Twigs thing? No, thank you.
Frankly, probably the only reason so many theories have been floating around about this is because the internet needed a new famous woman to bully post-Amber Heard, and it landed on Olivia Wilde as The Chosen One. The Twitter pile-on has been hard to watch.
Is it worth seeing in the theater?
Depends how patient you are. If gorgeous aesthetics, beautiful people, a fantastic soundtrack and a decent ending are enough for you, by all means go. If you want to watch Olivia Wilde chainsmoke gratuitously or Chris Pine be quietly sinister, book those tickets, baby.
But if you don't want to wade through weird pacing, a few plot holes and some fairly unsubtle symbolism? Wait for it to hit streaming, darling.
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