“Don’t Worry, Darling” is as enjoyably creative as it is messy

Everyone’s a sucker for a twist on the romanticism of the 1950s housewife and psychological thrillers. What could go wrong when the two are mixed, a la Stepford Wives?

The opening of the film does an effective job at appealing to the fantasy of an easy, routine life: husband goes to work, wife tends the house and goes shopping, takes care of the husband when he comes home and then commences amazing sex and cocktail parties. The honeymoon comes to an end when strange things start to happen, and fellow housewife Margaret (Kiki Lane) seems to have gone insane.

The best thing about this film is that it looks nice. Florence Pugh as Alice Chambers is perfection, as her performance is stunning across the board. Her reactions show genuine curiosity, dread and eventually horror as she realizes what her life has come to. Combined with amazing costumes, production design and cinematography, the whole setup is a real treat for the eyes. Some trippy sequences such as the famous “wall squish” scene and the empty eggs are effective at communicating to the character as well as the audience that something is off.

While the visuals are stunning, it’s hard to tell if some of the issues are glitches in the program or some kind of malicious test performed by the leader Frank, played by Chris Pine. He does an effective job as the smarmy villain, but the writing does little to reveal the reasoning behind his motivations. Did he mess with Margaret the way he is implied to be messing with Alice, or was it all unintentional? It’s hard to tell if that matters to the writer, let alone the characters. This is a consistent issue, as some lines of dialogue and character decisions seem to favor getting to the next plot point as opposed to achieving dynamic worldbuilding or storytelling.

It’s a stark shock to see Harry Styles as a greasy, grungy incel as opposed to the sleek and debonair character we see him as throughout the film. He succeeds at giving the character surprising depth as you realize he did what he did to spend more time with her and give her a break, while grossly not realizing that its ultimately at her expense not her benefit. Its an overall selfish move as he effectively and by force strips her not only of her autonomy but her sense of reality and security. His attempt at killing Alice at the end of the film is extremely out of left field and seems to only have been added to enable inclusion of a quasi-exciting chase scene as a climax.

Don’t Worry Darling isn’t a masterpiece by any means, but it’s not a complete and total train wreck. It introduced some interesting themes and concepts, but unfortunately some just fall flat. Why is it only men that die in real life when they die they in simulation? Was Frank’s wife a victim or an accomplice?

An interesting combination of Alice in Wonderland, The Truman Show, and Stepford Wives, Don’t Worry Darling asks a lot of questions without really bothering to answer most of them. However, for a try hard film that looks smarter than it actually, is the viewing was plenty enjoyable.

Don’t Worry Darling is currently playing in theaters.

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