Review: “Don’t Worry Darling’s” original take on a classic twist


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Director Olivia Wilde

Spoilers Ahead

After a year of conflict and drama, Olivia Wilde’s “Don’t Worry Darling” came to theaters Thursday. From Shia LaBeouf being replaced early on for unknown reasons to Wilde and Florence Pugh’s public feud, the constant chaos of this film has made it one of the most anticipated of the year.

Harry Styles and Pugh play married couple Jack and Alice Chambers living in a small 1950s community known as The Victory Project. As expected, Pugh gave an unforgettable performance that brought me to tears. I was unsure of what the quality of Styles’ performance would be going into this film, but I was pleasantly surprised by the emotion and depth he brought to his first leading role.

Chris Pine and Gemma Chan portray the creators of this community, Frank and Shelley, who decide the responsibilities and fate of everyone living there. Every day, the men drive out to the desert to work on a secret project, leaving their wives at home to care for their home and children. Pine has a natural charm that made me want to trust his character no matter what he did, making him a perfect choice for this role.

When it seems like the Chambers have the perfect life, Alice starts to notice something is off. There are a variety of aesthetic scenes showing terrifying hallucinations that don’t make much sense until the end, leaving the audience to feel the same confusion and stress as Alice.

After Alice starts to distrust Frank and The Victory Project, Jack is the only person she trusts even though he also treats her like she’s crazy. After a fight scene over her behavior, Jack became a character I feared. This was impressive coming from an actor whose brand is being lovable and kind.

Eventually, Alice catches on to the truth of the community: it was a simulation that Jack forced her into in hopes of giving her a better life, as she is constantly working to make ends meet. Alice loathes her husband after this, and my heart broke along with Alice’s because of how real Pugh made it feel. The simulation plot is a little played out and expected, but I felt it was well done and the best route for the writers to take.

Alice kills Jack and attempts to escape, being followed and eventually captured by guards. Just before her fate is decided, she imagines Jack holding her in her final moments– something I found beautiful and tragic. Even with what Jack did to her, she still felt love and security with him. He was what she needed at that moment to accept her implied death.

The ending of the film is what brought everything together, answered questions and held my attention the most, but it felt rushed. I enjoyed the slow burn, but simply adding an extra 20 minutes at the end would have allowed them to fully play out the twist. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 39%, but I felt it deserved higher than that.

Rating: 7 out of 10