Don’t Worry Darling: Style over Substance


Edwards cinema at West Covina

The long awaited “Don’t Worry Darling,” directed by Olivia Wilde, has finally been released, after gossip and controversy greatly amped up the anticipation for the movie. 

The movie follows Alice (Florence Pugh) and Jack Chambers ( Harry Styles) as they lead a seemingly perfect life in a small desert town named Victory. The husbands leave everyday for work, while the wives stay home, clean, care for the kids, and gossip. 

Everything is perfect as long as the wives follow one rule: Don’t leave town. Yet soon enough, Alice notices things are not as they seem with the town and its founder, Frank (Chris Pine). 

Victory is actually a simulation, and Jack, along with all the husbands, have forced the women into it. The movie is a utopian thriller with sci-fi and feminist undertones.

The film has an impeccable costume and set design and some impressive performances, however, it felt as though the film relied too much on its style and aesthetics. It felt as though the filmography, sound, and set design were carrying the film. There was a lack of tension building towards the mystery. There was no urgency, and oftentimes, the film relied on sound or visual cues to make the audience anxious. 

The set and costume design set the story up beautifully, yet it falls short in the third act. The reveal feels rushed, and many questions are left unanswered. Alice builds up the character of Frank to be someone of importance, however, his death in the third act has no repercussions to the plot. 

Wilde also introduces themes of feminism that felt very shallow. It lacked intersectionality and nuance. Kiki Layne and Gemma Chan, the few women of color, had most of their scenes cut from the movie. The feminism of the film focuses on the liberation of upper-class white women and even uses the story of Layne’s character as a catalyst for the white protagonist.

In the end, it was just another story about a heroic white woman saving herself from domesticity. “Don’t Worry Darling” is simply an unfortunate case of style over substance.