“Don’t Worry Darling”: lots of hype, but not much substance

Despite the drama circulating around the latest film by director Olivia Wilde, the plot leaves a bit to be desired


Photo courtesy of NPR

Florence Pugh in “Don’t Worry Darling”

Holly ODonnell, Arts & Culture Writer

“Don’t Worry Darling,” which hit theaters on September 23, stars three names you all know: Harry Styles, Florence Pugh and Chris Pine. While you may have seen Pugh and Pine on the big screens more than once, this is Harry Styles’ first lead acting role. He made a cameo in “Eternals,” accumulating less than one minute of screen time, and a smaller role in “Dunkirk,” which had inflamed his passion for acting. On October 21, his second major film, “My Policeman” also hit theaters. 

“Don’t Worry Darling” takes place in the 1950’s. Jack and Alice live in a seemingly perfect community called Victory, a speculative town that has the men put to work on a top-secret project. While the husbands work all day, the wives get to enjoy the beauty, luxury and corruption of their, what seems like, perfect paradise. However, when cracks in her blissful life begin to appear, exposing flashes of something threatening and frightening lurking below the surface, and clues that she never noticed before start to make sense, Alice can’t help but start questioning exactly what she’s doing in Victory.

Even before the release, there has been a lot of rumors and drama circulating about it. The latest speculation around the film is that Pugh is making way less money than Styles for “Don’t Worry Darling. Pugh, who’s been a professional actor since 2014, was supposedly paid a salary of $700,000 for the film, while, co-star, Styles, who is new to acting, was reportedly paid $2.5 million.

Styles was cast by director Olivia Wilde, who wanted to replace Shia Lebouf, with whom she had “reasons” to part ways. 

 “We had to replace Shia. He is a fantastic actor, but it wasn’t gonna work,” the “Booksmart” director, 38, told Stephen Colbert on September 21. “When he gave me the ultimatum of, you know, him or Florence, I chose Florence.” 

Speculations have arisen that there was a new romance blossoming between Styles and Wilde while filming. The rumor has gone from the start of filming, and people still believe they’re dating today.

Everyone was already dying to see this movie because Styles was finally in the lead role, but it seems people expected more from the film than what they got. To some people the movie was very disappointing and not at all what they expected. 

“Many female reviewers have complained that the negative reviews were posted by men due to the overlying feminist themes in this film… But I agree with the negative reviews,” claimed one Google reviewer. “This movie was pretty terrible. You spend what seems like forever on the edge of your seat trying to figure out what is actually happening and by the time they get to the big reveal, it’s a complete disappointment… So much time building stuff up that was completely irrelevant and never explained. It felt like two or three movies squished together.”

“I think ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ is such an amazing movie,” said junior Catherine Stinson. “It’s very entertaining and there’s a lot to keep you guessing about what’s going to happen next. Harry Styles and Florence Pugh look amazing and the acting is incredible.” 

“Don’t Worry Darling” got a lot of negative reviews and Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 3.9 out of 5 (69% – 74% audience rating)

In complete honesty, I feel like it was overhyped. Don’t get me wrong, everyone in the film did a pretty great job but I feel like some of the scenes could have been a little bit better. It didn’t keep me entertained the whole film. Styles was exceptional but, in my opinion, they could have given him better scenes and dialogue. It was thrilling and will definitely keep you on your toes. I enjoyed the plot and how it kept surprising you in various ways throughout the film. I liked a specific scene towards the end. Styles’ acting was unforgettable, and his portrayal of emotions had me feeling them with him. 

The costumes were great. While the outfits were not super memorable, when you play close attention, they truly are amazing and accurate to the time. Additional, the soundtrack was on point. The songs fit perfectly with the scenes and the cinematography was captivating. I liked how every angle was captured, and no details were left out. They really went into depth with the scenes, and the thought behind them is clear. 

Overall, I liked the film but I didn’t love it. I was not quite sure what was happening in the beginning, but once I got the idea, I was shocked and fascinated. Some scenes were definitely for audiences 18+ and I felt a little uncomfortable during those scenes. This movie contains multiple instances of explicit sex, and has some scenes that could be triggering. I recommend you see it if you like films or shows that have those kinds of scenes and flash back and forth to keep you thinking. I would rate it a 6-7/10.