Review of "Don't Worry Darling": An Ambitious Film that Falls by the Wayside

Olivia Wilde's film appears as an interesting proposal that makes you question the reality of life. This is our review of "Don't Worry Darling" .

Still from the movie 'Don't worry, darling'

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

LatinAmerican Post | Theoscar Mogollón González

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Leer en español: Reseña de "No te preocupes, cariño": Un film ambicioso que se queda en el camino

Very few films have managed to generate more noise for the controversies surrounding their cast than for their plot itself. From rumors of on-set fights to alleged festival outbursts, "Don't Worry Darling" is a film whose toxic atmosphere has spread with negative reviews from professional critics and the public. However, it is worth mentioning that it has some flashes that invite you to see it.

The story introduces us to a couple, Alice and Jack, who live in an experimental dream community. There, the men work on a secret project for a company, while the women do housework. Everything looks perfect, and the families live in apparent happiness. However, over time, Alice begins to question things and discover that there is something sinister in her surroundings that could endanger her idyllic life.

This psychological thriller is the second directed by actress Olivia Wilde, who beyond controversy has managed to collect 69 million dollars at the box office, more than double that of her first film "Booksmart" (2019). For this occasion, her idea is that the nature of life is chaotic, and we always need to control everything, or at least try, regardless of the means. Along with her, the cast is led by Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine and Gemma Chan.

Also read: Review of "Smile": a Terrifying Paradox

Predictable Approaches

Have the perfect partner, live with him in an ideal place, have a job that covers all your needs, and that the only concern is choosing the house to have fun with the neighbors. So far, it's everything the average person would want for themselves, right? And indeed, that is the day to day of Alice and Jack. But, how would you react if over time you begin to notice things out of the ordinary, to the point of questioning whether what you are experiencing is a simulation?

Reading the premise of "Don't Worry Darling," and subsequently watching it, it's hard not to compare it to movies that navigate those same waters, like "The Truman Show" or "The Matrix." The product that Olivia Wilde presents is predictable in its final stretch, although the mysticism that surrounds that utopian community and the humanity of its characters work to make the film entertain the casual viewer.

Now, the failure here goes through its execution, since neither the director nor the screenwriter introduced something new to those ideas. The development of the story becomes tedious, and it is a slow movie, at times. It only extends the wait for a supposedly shocking revelation, but ends up being unattractive. In fact, that is one of the reasons why the viewer is always one step ahead of the events and characters.

Knowing what the film is about, all the weight falls entirely on the final narrative twist, what is the origin and true reason for that “simulation”. However, along the way they leave certain clues that in the end lead nowhere, or that they did not know how to explain clearly, since they do not make any sense when they are related to the last revelation. In other words, "Don't worry Darling" makes you feel cheated.

As for the performances, very little can be rescued from Harry Styles. His charisma on stage is a must in this film after a flat and sometimes overacted performance, something that makes Jack an inconsequential character. The opposite happens with Chris Pine, whose disturbing performance is memorable, although his true intentions are not explored in detail. Even one of the most outstanding scenes of the film is done with Florence Pugh while they are having dinner.

Precisely, the British actress is the main column of the plot. And it is that with Florence everything is more credible, regardless of whether the script has plot gaps. Her excellent performance shows Alice determined and unable to stay calm to find answers to her questions. That accumulation of emotions through which she travels serve as an impetus for the most demanding scenes, which are worth seeing over and over again.

Likewise, we must also mention the work of production design, who managed to recreate a realistic setting with retro aesthetics from the fifties, in addition to the use of pastel colors to please the eyes. On the other hand, an aesthetic success to highlight is that of the figure of the dancers in Alice's visions, which goes hand in hand with the speech of Pine's character about "grace in symmetry" and "beauty in control". This may be a difficult metaphor to digest, but it is visually pleasing.

In short, the concept of "Don't Worry Darling" is ambitious and has a lot of potential, but due to the execution it falls by the wayside due to its predictable twists. Beyond the negative reviews, it is a colorful film with a certain morbidity that should be seen even once in a lifetime, especially if we question the true origin of our reality.