Of all the movies that released in 2022 (as of this review), Don’t Worry Darling have got to be the most disappointing of them all. For those that are wondering, I’ve seen 29 films this year. The two worst films released this year, in my opinion, are Morbius and Pinocchio. While Olivia Wilde’s second film as a director was disappointing, I already knew going into it that Morbius and Pinocchio were going to be terrible. Walking into that theater, I had a little bit of hope that Don’t Worry Darling could be good.
Starring Florence Pugh (as Alice), Harry Styles (as Jack), Chris Pine (as Frank), and Olivia Wilde (as Bunny), Don’t Worry Darling is a mystery/thriller/drama set in the 1950’s in a utopian experimental community in California. Alice is the dutiful 50’s wife and Jack is the working husband that leaves every day to go to work at the Victory Project with all the other husbands. As one might imagine, it doesn’t take long before Alice becomes suspicious of the Victory Project and its founder, Frank. What follows is a trippy mystery that Alice has to unravel to figure out what really is happening inside her small community.
There are a lot of good qualities to this film. The first being the acting of Pugh, Styles, Pine, and Wilde. Most people will likely come out to the theater just to see Pugh. She really knocks it out of the park. Playing her other side of the coin is antagonist Frank. I’m not really a fan of Chris Pine, but I’ve got to say, he really makes a convincing charismatic villain. And while he doesn’t have that many acting credits to his name (I’m not counting all of the roles where he played himself), Harry Styles was pretty decent as the husband. The chemistry between Pugh and Styles was where it needed to be. Wilde is as solid as ever in her performance as Bunny, the best friend.
The cinematography was really well done. Being set in a remote area of California, there were great shots of both the cleanliness of suburban life as well as the grittiness of living in the desert. I have no qualms with Wilde’s technical ability behind a camera.
The major issue I had with the film was the pacing of the plot. It starts off just fine. To me, it was trying to be one of those films where it slowly boiled for most of the time until it just blew up at the end. Which is fine. There are a lot of films that have done that successfully. However, and I won’t spoil anything, there’s a point in the second act of the film where things become repetitive to the point where I almost fell asleep in the movie theater. Luckily, things started to bubble, and I sat up straight and started paying attention again.
Even though the film is 2 hours and 3 minutes long, I thought the ending was too abrupt. Once things started to happen, there wasn’t a chance for Pugh’s character to stop and ask questions. Because of that, the audience will be left with more questions as they watch the credits roll. And the sad thing is that I don’t want to see a sequel addressing those questions. I think Wilde and New Line Cinema should leave the world of Don’t Worry Darling in the past along with the 1950’s.
One of the other major things that I was disappointed by was the underutilization of Chris Pine’s character, Frank. As the founder of the mysterious Victory Project, Frank holds all the cards. He knows the truth Alice is seeking yet the script treats this as a secondary plot. There’s an excellent scene where Alice and Frank go head-to-head. I wish there was more of that conflict between the two characters.
Overall, I left the theater the same as how I went in. I wasn’t affected by the film one way or another. It’s not the worst film I’ve seen nor was it the best film I’ve seen. I won’t be recommending this film to anyone though, unless they are fans of Florence Pugh.
Don’t Worry Darling is Rated R for moderate sexual content, moderate violence and gore, moderate profanity, smoking and drinking alcohol, and moderate frightening and intense scenes. This isn’t a film to take your children to. If anything, else, view it yourself and then make the decision whether or not to share it with others.
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