Is 'Don't Worry Darling' a Refreshing Spritz or Total Spit-Show?

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Harry Styles, not spitting on Florence Pugh in the much-yapped about 'Don't Worry Darling.' (Warner Bros.)

As anyone who's spent time on the internet over the past few months could tell you, the publicity for Don't Worry Darling has been ... eventful. So far the headlines have revolved around rifts, leaked emails, possible affairs, custody battles, #spitgate and—my personal favorite—revenge aperol spritzes. In other words: everything other than the actual movie.

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.

Six attractive slim women in leotards and tights practice ballet in formation.
Are you a regular human who gained some weight in the pandemic? Prepare to feel really bad about your life choices!

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.

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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."

Two white women in 1950s-era period cocktail dresses stand before a wall of ornate mirrors.
Olivia Wilde as Bunny and Florence Pugh as Alice in 'Don't Worry Darling.' (Merrick Morton / 2022 Warner Bros. )

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:

  1. Dita Von Teese doing a thing in it
  2. A big band (with a really unsubtle name) doing a thing in it
  3. 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.

Harry Styles, wearing a dark blue suit, stands on the red carpet, wearing large square sunglasses. He is also wearing a light blue shirt with aggressively long pointed collars.
This Shirt = Even worse than spitting on Chris Pine. (Getty Images/ John Phillips )

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.

A white woman in a black leotard stares at her reflection in the mirror. Staring back at her is a pretty Black woman with long straight hair, wearing a pink nightgown.
Why the hell has Kiki Layne been so absent from all of 'Don't Worry Darling's promo stuff? Hers is the first character I truly cared about in the whole movie tbh. (Warner Bros. Pictures)

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.

Olivia: "See Harry? If we don't stand directly next to each other, NO ONE WILL KNOW." Harry: "Genius." Sydney Chandler: "Can I go and stand with Nick Kroll please?" (Stefania D'Alessandro/WireImage)

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.

A petite blond woman wearing a pretty black 1950s-style dress runs in the center of a road towards desolate mountains. She is glancing back over her shoulder.
Run, Florence, run! (Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)

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.

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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.