Movie Review: “Don’t Worry Darling”

Movie Review: “Don’t Worry Darling”

Stefanie Kistler, Staff Writer

The drama surrounding the cast of Olivia Wilde’s “Don’t Worry Darling” is notorious. The movie involved a scandal  and much intrigue from the start, capturing the public’s gleeful attention almost instantly. From the director allegedly cheating on her husband with the male lead, to the star of the movie refusing to do promotions, the lead up to the movie’s release has been a wild ride. Although I went into it with some preconceived notions, the movie surprised me. This is my entirely honest review.

To start, I will say that I enjoyed “Don’t Worry Darling.” The movie clearly had passion and talent behind it, and it shines through the cinematography, soundtrack and acting. The camera shots are creative and interesting to watch, and the general setting was captivating. These beautiful shots were complimented by a subtly menacing soundtrack that underlaid all the scenes. Soundtracks can make a movie go from good to great, and this was especially the case in“Don’t Worry Darling.” From the haunting vocals in horrifying scenes to a menacing violin chord during tense moments, it truly helped add an ambiance that resonated throughout the story. 

The cherry on top was the brilliant performance of Florence Pugh as Alice Chambers, the  main character. In my opinion, Pugh is establishing herself as one of the best actors of our generation, and she lives up to expectations in “Don’t Worry Darling.” Her emotions are raw and real, and she quickly makes the audience sympathize with her character and the horrific situation she finds herself in. The challenge of having such a brilliant starring actress is finding an equally brilliant actor to play her co-star. In this realm, “Don’t Worry Darling” failed.

The anticipation for Harry Styles’s first major acting role was huge and unfortunately Styles’ performance as Jack Chambers just was kind of……blah. I will not say that he was awful, or that he ruined the movie, but next to Pugh’s star power, Styles pales in comparison. I wanted more emotion, more connection and more passion. Disregarding the talent imbalance, the two actors together were visually beautiful. They are both incredibly attractive and had very strong sexual chemistry that did them well. However, the one thing they lacked was romantic chemistry, and considering they played a married couple, that is important. All in all, Pugh outshined Styles, but perhaps with time we will see Styles come into his own as an actor. 

As for the rest of the cast, I have no complaints. Chris Pine was menacing as the cult-like figure of Frank, and the stand-offs between his character and Pugh’s were filled with tension. I would love to see these two actors in more movies together, as their chemistry on screen as enemies was undeniable. Gemma Chan played the perfect housewife, and the twist of her character left me (and the rest of the audience) gasping and clutching our  hands to our mouths with glee. The director herself, Olivia Wilde, showed up as Bunny, Alice Chamber’s best friend, who hides a dark secret from the rest of the women around her. Her performance was solid and when the secret was revealed, it was shocking and sad. Altogether, their performances were strong and helped build the movie into something undeniably interesting and enjoyable to watch.

The general storyline was great as well, with its psychedelic horror and thriller elements in addition to  the underlying mystery of what exactly is going on. In general, the film kept me interested the entire time with one exception. My only qualm with the plotline was that everything almost seemed to go too fast. It felt like this story should have been told through a TV series rather than a movie. It escalated quickly and because there was so much happening, the ending felt abrupt. While the pace worked somewhat, seeing as it was a thriller movie, and those often feel quite fast, I still felt like I needed more time with the story and its characters. In general though, it was engaging and well written, so I must say I approve.

For the sake of remaining spoiler free, I will not go into detail about any plot points because this is a movie where you need to go in blind about the ending to get the full experience. However, I will give anyone who wishes to see it a piece of advice: Pay attention to everything on screen. Little details are important to the movie and noticing them feels really fulfilling and adds to the entire story. I will end my review by implicitly recommending that people see this film. Ignore the drama surrounding it, and you will realize that it is a well-made movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat.