Production Company: New Line Cinema and Vertigo Entertainment
Streaming Service: HBO Max
Release Date: September 23, 2022
Don't Worry Darling was not entirely what I expected. This may seem obvious considering it is a psychological thriller meant to deliver the unexpected. However, I mean that there has been a lot of controversy surrounding this movie and I needed to see for myself what the hate and hype were all about.
I did have some of the movie spoiled for me on social media, so going into it I already had an idea of what the movie was really about. I was hoping watching the movie would fill in the gaps that the few clips and videos I had seen left. On this front, I would say the movie did not do a great job. I know psychological thrillers are meant to leave you with some questions at the end, but it is also meant to be satisfying. After the end of the movie, I felt somewhat underwhelmed. I think there could have been a better explanation of the simulation and I wish we got to see more background on the other characters-- even if it was a short scene. I thought it was interesting that Olivia Wilde's character chose the simulation, and I wish we got a better explanation of that. In general, I wish there was a better explanation of the simulation, how it got started, how exactly it works, etc. Toward the end of the movie when Alice accidentally kills Jack, Bunny (Olivia Wilde) finds her and informs her that she knows they are in a simulation. She says that killing a man in the simulation kills him in real life, but there is literally no explanation of how this works or why. Also, Bunny says she chose to be there because it gave her an opportunity to be with her children who died. Yet, the entire movie she is barely interacting with her kids, making jokes that they like Alice more than her. There is just no more explanation to this and I feel like Bunny choosing to be there is contradictory to the theme of the movie. Margaret is a character whose story is also neglected. She helps Alice in her unravelling of the truth, but we never know what happens to her or how she found out the truth in the first place. Most of these things are mentioned, but there is not much detail. For the length of the movie, it would have been possible to add more explanations for all these things. This is definitely more of a personal opinion though because I always want to see and know more about characters.
There were aspects I did like though. I think the overall concept of the film was very interesting and disturbing. The idea of a woman's choice is incredibly relevant. Alice is trapped in the simulation because Jack believed she would be happier there. Everything he did was on the assumption of what she would want, opposed to what she actually wanted. As well, Margaret and Alice have their concerns about the town disregarded as hysteria, which is a diagnosis that has been used to silence women throughout history. Along with this is just the general idea of calling women crazy as a way to keep them from making changes or voicing their opinion. I think this is something a lot of women can relate to unfortunately. As far as production, I think the set design and costuming of the film was done very well. I enjoyed the contrast of the real life look of Jack, Alice, and where they live, with Victory. Their apartment in real life is dark and dingy, but their house in Victory is bright and colorful. The costumes were beautiful, I just love the 1950s style. As well, the clothing Alice wears throughout the film is often representative of the male gaze. It is typically tighter around the waist, and shows off more of the bust area. In one part of the film, Jack even buys her a dress insisting she would look good in it. The set of Victory was really well done. It looks incredibly idyllic, but also fake. Almost like a plastic town. I think this really helped in understanding the story and allowing the audience to sense something was not right.
Overall, Don't Worry Darling was better than the worst reviews, but worse than the best reviews. There are definitely movies with a similar concept that do a better job at expressing it, but it was not bad. I definitely enjoyed parts of it, I think Florence Pugh did a great job (as always) and the concept was intriguing for sure. I don't think it is a movie I would watch again, but it definitely had me at the edge of my seat at times and yelling at my screen.
Reviewer Name: Therese Peralta
Date of Review: 11/26/2022