I was very excited for Don’t Worry Darling, the comparisons I’d seen to The Truman Show and Inception by director Olivia Wilde were exactly the sort of thing I wanted to see and the type of films I love to watch, Inception being one of my favourite films. I also loved, like most people, Wilde’s only other directorial feature, Booksmart and this film having a fantastic cast, including the very inform Florence Pugh, and Harry Styles who is probably the reason this film has more attention than it would’ve had.
Don’t Worry Darling is set in a utopian community being over ran by the mysterious Frank (Chris Pine). When Alice (Florence Pugh) sees one of her neighbour’s having a breakdown, she begins to question why they are all even in this town and the secrets behind it.
I don’t specifically have a problem with Wilde coming out and saying inspired by the two aforementioned films, but I think it would’ve been fascinating to see the reception of this film if we didn’t already see the twist coming a while away. Yes, there is certainly more to the film that I won’t spoil but I think going into the film you already expect, you’re sat waiting for the twist and when it comes you’re like “well yeah obviously”. And the sad thing is that it isn’t that much more than that. I heard from a colleague that this script was Blacklisted (which means the script wasn’t picked up by a studio when it was written), which isn’t a problem as Wilde had big success with a Black List script with Booksmart. Wilde brought on fellow Booksmart writer, Katie Silberman to touch up the script. For me this is the biggest problem with the film, the writing. What we got in the end was a messy script with some poor dialogue, rushed explanations and moments which don’t land, without explaining everything enough and something’s too much. I also put that down to the direction from Wilde.
The film has a great cast and they certainly delivered for me. Florence Pugh doesn’t seem to be able to do any wrong and crushes it once again, owning this film and is a powerhouse, the best performer in this film by a mile. But perhaps the surprise for me was how much I enjoyed Chris Pine in this role, I thought he really delivered, playing a perfectly creepy and sinister, cult-like leader.
Yes, Harry Styles is there and in the film, he has moments but I always felt like he was perhaps trying too hard. I do think he has talent, we’ve seen it many times with singers becoming actors and doing both jobs well. I’m hearing better things about My Policeman (catch it in the next few days as part of London Film Festival if you can) and he certainly won’t slow down getting roles due to his name being such a draw.
Another little bright spark for the film was the cinematography (Matthew Libatique) who crafted so fantastic, gorgeous shots and the whole aesthetic of this town, perfectly setting the tone and giving some wallpaper worthy moments. I also give praise to the set design, production design and costume design. I think the feeling of this utopian town was perfect and very well could even go on to be the only area this film has any success in come award season.
Overall, Don’t Worry Darling could’ve been so much more to compare to the likes of Inception and The Truman Show, 2 fantastic films when it is such a long way from those films, which both not only nail every aspect of their films but have gone on to be many peoples favourites, when this is unlikely to be remembered, aside from the feuds around the film. Unfortunately, this film thinks it is much cleverer than it thinks it is and suffers from poor directing and writing letting down a film with such potential and wasting great talent.
What did you think of Don’t Worry Darling?
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