Florence Pugh, Harry Styles and Olivia Wilde have been in the tabloids for months in the lead up to the release of Wilde’s film “Don’t Worry Darling,” starring Pugh and Styles. News surrounding the film was heated from the start when Wilde decided that Shia LeBouf ’s style of acting wasn’t “conducive with the ethos of her productions,” and LeBouf was fired from what then became Styles’ role. LeBouf released texts and videos to prove Wilde had actually asked him to stay on the film. Drama heightened after the recent Venice Film Festival, when Styles and Wilde were never pictured together, Pugh did not appear in front of the press and Styles was accused of spitting on co-star Chris Pine. But how was the actual movie?
The film follows Pugh as Alice, a suburban housewife married to Jack, played by Styles, a technical engineer at the “Victory Project.” The mysterious project is where every man in the neighborhood spends their days, while the women gossip, shop and spend time at the pool. After Alice watches a plane crash and ventures beyond the permitted bounds of the city, she begins questioning the purpose of the “Victory Project.” There are startling, graphic visuals that interject almost any scene with Alice, depicting her growing psychological detachment from her life. First and foremost, the film brings aesthetic appeal. The 1950s-style suburbia is a classic portrayal of the ideal American life: palm trees, convertibles and most importantly, wives waving their husbands goodbye as they drive off to work. Bright, bubbly music is a consistent soundtrack of the scenes depicting Alice’s psychological deterioration, and a capella tunes haunt most other scenes.
Chris Pine, Olivia Wilde and Gemma Chan all brought strong performances but didn’t hold the screen time that Pugh and Styles did. But of the two, Pugh truly carried. Similar to Pugh’s performance in “Midsommar,” she demonstrated her incredible ability to portray a character going insane.
On the whole, it’s a parallel to “The Truman Show” in many ways, but with more bizarre visuals and a less impactful ending. It’s more of a social commentary, portraying the current risks of gender stereotype conformity in online spaces. Cracks in traditional notions of “American life” are exposed in a weird, slightly confusing but very aesthetically pleasing way. It’s worth a watch for fans of psychological thrillers and Pugh who have two hours to spare. (Styles fans: maybe avoid.)