‘Don’t Worry Darling’ Review

It’s going to be extremely difficult to say anything – good or bad – about “Don’t Worry Darling” without discussing anything about what happened behind the scenes. The bad blood between the three main stars (one being the director) has cast a dark shadow over this release, and the awkward press tour. Knowing everything that has happened up to this point, then going to see the movie is quite fascinating. I cannot believe the completion of this film was accomplished. Let’s just leave it at that.

All of that aside, this is a massive step down from Olivia Wilde’s previous directorial outing “Booksmart,” but I still found myself having a decently fun time. “My favorite thing about the movie is that it feels like a movie. It feels like a real, you know, go to the theater film, movie.” Despite catching onto the twist roughly twenty minutes in, the 1950’s suburbia feel of it all kept me consistently interested. Most of the time that’s all I ask for from a movie. Yet, keeping the audience never bored is the bare minimum any movie needs to do.

I’m not sure if I can explain the performances any better than Florence Pugh carrying this movie so hard that she might have permanent back pain. I wouldn’t go as far as to say she’s better here than in “Midsommar,” but this is a close second performance for me. Unlike anyone else in the film, she is great at showing emotion. Going back to the controversy, I respect that after all she had to go through with this she still gave it her all. It’s particularly her that didn’t break my attention for the entire runtime.

Harry Styles, on the other hand, seriously struggles opposite Pugh. The British accent kept coming and going. For his first major acting role, I’ll give him a pass. Although, the failure to emote anger, sadness, or any kind of feeling that is not the monotone dullness he defaults to, was off-putting.

Outside of the two leads, I didn’t find anyone else’s performance much to discuss. Wilde herself was good – I felt she fit the setting they were going for, but her character could’ve been better written. Sidenote, the production, costumes, hairstyling, score, and soundtrack were all top-notch. Gemma Chan only had a few scenes, she was fine. Chris Pine was also fine, but miscast. Pine is viewed as the main villain of the film, I was more intimidated by Chan who plays his wife.

Too much happens in this movie and none of it connects. I think it was trying to be some sort of statement on gender equality, but any “big scene” that occurs is meant to be a shocker at the moment, and then it’s never really talked about after the fact (aside from a single scene that has the one black character act as a major plot device). It’s a mishmash of a bunch of different ideas that somehow constructs itself into an oddly entertaining story.

Nearing the end, when it gets to the point where there’s reveal after reveal that’s when it all falls apart for me. As I said, I caught onto one of the twists early on, but then it keeps going and adding more on when it didn’t need to. The worst part of it all – the movie just ends. It’s common sense that you want to leave the audience with the best possible lasting impression for them to walk out on. Fading to black mid-sequence and rolling credits only infuriated me. Had they cut one death scene a few seconds earlier and maybe added another ten minutes on I would be a little more positive. It’s been some time since the final shot of a film has pissed me off.

Overall, it’s never so good or so bad to live up to the conflict between Pugh, Styles, and Wilde. “Don’t Worry Darling” is going to be a fairly forgettable film that will forever be overshadowed by its press tour, and that’s that. Nobody is going to find this movie very memorable.

Final Grade: C+

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