Despite the film’s stunning cinematography and costumes, the story ultimately didn’t live up to the drama.
Despite the name “Don’t Worry Darling,” this film has had people worrying about what to expect. In the past two years of waiting for the arrival of this film, there has been an endless array of scandals, gossip of feuds, crazy theories and even memes. With its release last week, I was finally able to see the film that has been the source of some of the hottest headlines of the year. So the question is, did it reach the expectations it set for itself?
From the moment the production of “Don’t Worry Darling” was mentioned, there was buzz in the film world. The first of many scandals was the announcement of Shia LaBeouf no longer being in the film and being replaced by Harry Styles instead. Shortly after director Olivia Wilde’s marriage split, she was rumored to be dating Styles. Nonetheless, we can only say this was the beginning of the drama.
Fast forward to this spring, Wilde is served custody papers from her ex, Jason Sudeikis, during the first promotional speech of the film. To make matters worse, the situation with LaBeouf resurged to which Wilde responded with claims of firing him in order to protect Pugh. LaBeouf retaliated this response, stating that he not only quit the film but also shared receipts of texts and emails including a video in which Wilde states:
“I feel like I’m not ready to give up on this yet, and I, too, am heartbroken and I want to figure this out. You know, I think this might be a bit of a wake-up call for Miss Flo, and I want to know if you’re open to giving this a shot with me, with us. If she really commits, if she really puts her mind and heart into it at this point and if you guys can make peace — and I respect your point of view, I respect hers — but if you guys can do it, what do you think? Is there hope? Is there hope? Will you let me know?”
Finally, in the series of scandals we reach the day of the Venice Film Festival. To begin with, Pugh wasn’t present at the Press Conference and didn’t arrive until the red carpet.
Then we reach a moment of strange interactions in which Wilde and Styles don’t interact with one another at all, and we see a division between Pugh and the two as other co-stars create boundaries between the three of them.
Once inside, we get the biggest moment that blew up: “Spitgate.” Did Styles spit on Chris Pines? The amount of responses to the video had people questioning what really happened, even with both stars’ denial of the occurrence. Honestly, with all the drama it seems that the only good thing that emerged were the memes of Chris Pine’s faces during the Press Conference.
Now, with an understanding of how much drama surrounded the film — was it worth viewing?
“Don’t Worry Darling” follows the life of Alice Chambers (Florence Pugh) as she navigates life in the small suburb, Victory Project, where everything plays out like an idyllic retro dream world. She’s living the 1950’s housewife life, cleaning and cooking while her perfect husband Jack Chambers (Harry Styles) and the other men go off to work on the top secret Victory Project.
However, after a “crazy” woman starts telling others that everything is not what it seems, Alice begins to ponder what is really hiding behind Victory Project’s facade. What exactly are the men working on under the leadership of Frank (Chris Pine) and what sinister secrets are they hiding in this town that seems too good to be true?
The performance given by Pugh was captivating, and the effort put into her role was evident. She engages the audience in trying to understand what is hiding as she questions her existence in the Victory Project. In doing so, we are able to feel the same emotions of frustration, confusion and persistence to know the truth.
On the other hand, many have harshly criticized Styles’ acting. Although he wasn’t as terrible as many stated, I did feel that there were parts in which his weakness in acting showed, like in the shouting scenes or in moments where his eyes seemed to portray emptiness rather than any emotion. Overall, his performance was not as terrible as expected, being that it was his first lead role in a film and in a film comprised mainly of A-list actors.
In terms of cinematography, Matthew Libatique succeeded in immersing viewers in the perfect dream world, showcasing the beauty of color and midcentury design through setting and costumes. Each shot was done with intentionality, highlighting the incredible work by costume designer Arianne Phillips, production designer Katie Byron, art directors Mary Florence Brown and Erika Toth, set decorator Rachel Ferrara and director Olivia Wilde. They deserve recognition for the idyllic scene they set, creating outfits I’d love to wear and places I’d love to visit if only it wasn’t the Victory Project.
The plot of “Don’t Worry Darling” had potential; however, I don’t think it was reached. The film left many questions unanswered in a story where the point was finding the truth, leaving people possibly feeling let down by the conclusion like I was. The ending revelation was unsatisfying, as the strong motivations at the beginning for a specific theme of feminism and exposing of toxic masculinity were lost, feeling as though the filmmakers couldn’t carry out what they set out to do.
Overall, “Don’t Worry Darling” wasn’t worth all the drama surrounding it, but if you don’t mind a few unanswered questions and plot holes, you could most definitely enjoy the cinematography, setting, fashion and yes, even some of the acting in “Don’t Worry Darling.”