October 7, 2022

‘Don’t Worry Darling’ review: Florence Pugh isn’t enough to redeem Olivia Wilde’s tabloid-friendly second movie

3 min read


Waves of Off-screen drama and gossip The hype surrounding “Don’t Worry Darling” has put director Olivia Wilde’s second film in an awkward spot, unable to live up to its hype (it’s fine at best) but perhaps benefiting from it. Pick up is advised. Florence Pugh makes the strongest case for seeing the film, but given how in demand it is, if you miss it, don’t worry.

The darkly mysterious concept represents a marked departure from Wilde’s impressive debut. “Book Smart,” A short coming-of-age movie that hits all the right notes. Given a chance to step up in class, the actor-turned-director has assembled a top-notch cast, but in a story that drags the build up a bit and doesn’t play it out very neatly. In fact, the ending becomes what the film’s driving force purports to try to avoid – namely chaos.

There are also many recent points of comparison, such as the George Clooney-directed “Suburbicon,” due to its spiritual debt to “The Stepford Wives,” along with its carefully crafted portrayal of suburbia. There’s even a dollop of “Edward Scissorhands” in a pastel vision of a perfect cul-de-sac where men drive a file to work while their wives dutifully wave goodbye.

Alice (Pugh) and her husband Jack (Harry Styles) seem to be living the dream, partying hard with their co-workers in the 1950s-style planned community where they all live. The two are so hot for each other, it’s almost sickening to hear Alice’s pal Bunny (played by Wilde) say.

On closer inspection, though, it all seems a little too perfect, and thus suspicious, starting with the fact that no one would explain that they work for something called the Victory Project. have been. There’s also a cult-like devotion to the boss, Frank (Chris Pine, as Pig, a cut above the material), who enthusiastically embraces his charges that they’re “changing the world.”

Harry Styles and Florence Pugh play a couple in a company town in 'Don't Worry Darling' directed by Olivia Wilde.

If the goal is a kind of happy-go-lucky consistency, it gives way to a gaslighting analogy when Alice begins to sense that something is wrong, due to strange dreams, surreal images, and the neighbor’s behavior. .

Based on a script submitted to “Booksmart’s” Katie Silberman with Shane and Carrie Van Dyke (Dick Van Dyke’s grandson), “Don’t Worry Darling” stumbles into the creative trap of following the model of a “The Twilight Zone” episode. Eats, only without the kind of revelation that would catapult it into the series’ more memorable ranks. Although the film has something to say about gender politics and misogyny, it is not well-articulated enough to distinguish itself from other films.

Given this, the question Presented by The New York Times. On Offscreen Relationship Controversy – “Will Sperling Publicity Hurt ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ at the Box Office?” – looks exactly the opposite; Rather, the real issue is whether that curiosity, including analysis of stars like the Zapruder film At the Venice Film Festival premiere, can an otherwise non-scripted film generate interest? (The film is being released by Warner Bros., such as CNN, a unit of Warner Bros. Discovery.)

Practically, despite the heat surrounding Styles as he pursues his acting career, the main draw should be Pig, whose rising profile — with an Oscar nomination for “Little Women.” “black Widow” And the upcoming “Dune” — he’ll be seen in another film, “Wonder,” due out in November.

After Wild’s impressive debut, there’s always hope to see if a filmmaker can pull off another hit. The move makes “Don’t Worry Darling” feel more like a minor setback than a major disappointment, but ultimately, it’s hard to call the project a triumph.

“Don’t Worry Darling” premieres in US theaters on September 23. It is rated R. The film is distributed by Warner Bros. Studios, which, like CNN, is part of Warner Bros. Discovery.

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