Movie review: Twisty 'Don't Worry Darling' feels incomplete

Fred Hawson

Posted at Oct 01 2022 10:21 AM

A scene from 'Don't Worry Darling.' Handout
A scene from 'Don't Worry Darling.' Handout

It was the 1950s in Victory, California, a town founded by an enigmatic gentleman named Frank (Chris Pine) who also own the company where all the husbands were employed. Everyday, all the husbands drive off to work, while the wives hang around together in the swimming pool or the dance studio. One such couple was tech engineer Jack Chambers (Harry Styles) and his ideal homemaker wife Alice (Florence Pugh). 

One day, Alice witnessed a small plane crash in the desert and she went off to offer her help. However, she instead found herself in front of the Victory Headquarters, a mysterious domed building on top of a hill. When she touched the glass doors, she had hallucinations and lost consciousness. When she woke up, it was night time, she was back in her bedroom, and Jack was preparing dinner as if nothing happened.

Florence Pugh was practically reliving her role from her breakthrough movie "Midsommar" (2019) as her character slowly realized the bizarre goings-on inside a seemingly perfect community. There was no doubt that the integrity of this film lay squarely on her shoulders and she gave it her all. This exhausting role had a marked physical demand on Pugh on top of all its stressful mental and emotional demands.

Harry Styles was actually not as bad as critics made him out to be, but I still had no idea why he had to do that prolonged dance number. Did not expect usual good boy Chris Pine to be a good villain but he emanated toxic vibes every time he was onscreen, even without uttering a word. 

Director Olivia Wilde took on a secondary role as Alice's next door neighbor and best friend Bunny. She had made a good decision to switch roles with Pugh. 

The production design and costume design made utopian Victory reminiscent of "The Stepford Wives" or "Pleasantville." The musical score by John Powell was stark and very unsettling. 

Wilde decided to leave so many details left unseen and unexplained, like why the plane crash happened or the most basic, what's inside the Victory Headquarters. These nagging questions, and the abrupt ending, made the storytelling feel incomplete. 

This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."