Sometimes the drama surrounding the production of a movie becomes bigger than the movie itself. Take one of the biggest pop stars in the world, and then add another prominent actor being fired from the film, and then mix in rumors of on-set romance and rivalries and it’s enough to make the internet collapse in on itself.
Such is the case with “Don’t Worry Darling,” but now we have an actual movie to talk about and it turns out that once you’ve hosed off all of the paparazzi we actually have an interesting little film on our hands.
The focus of the movie is young, married couple Alice (Florence Pugh) and Jack (Harry Styles) who live in a post-war paradise in a small, planned community carved out of the remote desert.
The company that brought them all out there is led by the enigmatic Frank (Chris Pine) who gives off vibes like he’s the lovechild of L. Ron Hubbard and Ayn Rand.
The men’s work is top secret and while they are off at the office, the women spend their days in a suburban utopia going shopping or doing some light housework before enjoying an afternoon cocktail or three.
Alice and Jack have a passionate relationship, but the secrecy of Jack’s work causes some distance between them. As time goes on, Alice begins to suspect that this paradise might not be all it’s cracked up to be and that Frank is possibly up to no good.
The central mystery at the heart of “Don’t Worry Darling” isn’t really breaking any new ground and winds up feeling like a fleshed-out, average episode of “The Twilight Zone.”
Even still, the movie has quite a bit working in its favor. First of all, the look is great as I’m pretty sure they just raided the “Mad Men” production department to create the perfect picture of late-1950s domestic bliss.
The next best move was casting Pugh in the lead. She is such an excellent actor and is able to command the screen to the point that you can’t help but root for her.
But I think what make’s “Don’t Worry Darling” such a compelling film is that it is told from a distinctly female perspective. Science-fiction tends to be a very “boys-only” sandbox, but what screenwriter Katie Silberman and director Olivia Wilde (who also plays the supporting role of fellow-housewife Bunny) have done here is made a movie about female agency and all the structures society has placed (both intentionally and unintentionally) to limit it.
It’s the movie’s perspective that makes it worthwhile and while it does have its shortcomings, the movie itself makes for a much more interesting conversation than the tabloid drama surrounding it.
“Don’t Worry Darling” is rated R for sexuality, violent content and language.