Florence Pugh (Alice) and Harry Styles (Jack) at a meeting for “The Victory Project.” Warner Brothers Studios | Courtesy
After releasing her first movie, “Booksmart,” in 2019, Olivia Wilde directed her second movie “Don’t Worry Darling,” which was predicted to do well at the box office since the trailer’s release in May 2020.
This movie takes place in the 1950s in an experimental company town called Victory, where no one is allowed to leave past a certain trespass point. The men go off to work daily, being part of the “Victory project,” while the wives stay home cooking and cleaning. The wives have no idea what the Victory project even is and what their husbands do for work, but they go along with it because that has been their norm.
The main character, Alice, played by Florence Pugh, starts to question why they are even in Victory while she gets flashbacks of memories she thinks are new to her.
All Alice wants are answers, and it seems anytime she gets one step closer to figuring them out, someone pushes her one step back. The people in Victory, including her husband Jack, played by Harry Styles, make her believe she’s going crazy for not appreciating what she has because it is the “perfect life.”
The cast could not have been picked better. In addition to Pugh, the movie stars Harry Styles (Jack), Olivia Wilde (Bunny), Chris Pine (Frank), Gemma Chan (Shelley) and Nick Kroll (Dean) as the leading group in Victory. One of the main reasons this movie was so overly anticipated was because of Harry Styles, the giant fan base behind him as the movie hit the box office.
This movie had plenty of press surrounding it from the second paparazzi shots that got leaked of Styles, Pugh, and Wilde. There was controversy, making people question the intentions of Wilde and Styles, considering they carried on their relationship outside of filming since October of 2020. Fans questioned if Wilde had just hired Styles for his fame and romantic attraction to him or because she loved his talent as an actor.
Drama was also stirred at the Florence Film Festival. While the cast was receiving a standing ovation for the film, Styles allegedly spit on the lap of Pine making fans rethink their relationship. This put more of a spotlight on this movie days before the release, but was soon debunked by Pine in an interview releasing a statement saying Styles never spit on his lap.
With that being said, his performance really stood out. Styles and Pugh had amazing chemistry; this pairing is incredible. Scenes of them seemed almost too real for them not to be together in real life. It was very easy to differentiate Styles from his character. Most of the time when musicians get into acting, it’s difficult to separate one from the other. This felt like two different people throughout the whole film.
Pugh left it all out on the floor, her stellar performance showcases how she puts her all into each project she does. Being the lead in a movie can bring many challenges, but those challenges were nowhere to be seen. The audience received emotion after emotion throughout this film. Pugh does a remarkable job of making the audience feel as if they are trapped in this world, and are suffocating and trapped in an ongoing cycle that is turning into a nightmare.
Wilde and Pine set up this movie beautifully. Their roles helped escalate the plot. Pine’s character pushes the narrative of the victory project being the new big thing and Wilde goes along with that idea making the audience think there is no better way of living. This makes Alice look crazy when she believes otherwise.
This thriller/horror allows for confusion. This is what a psychedelic thriller should do, elicit the questioning of what’s real and what’s fake.
“Don’t Worry Darling” is a nail-biting movie, causing the audience to be on the edge of their seats. While this film had its fair share of stirring the pot, it is one that is worth watching and will leave movie lovers yearning for more answers. Wilde did a great job of having unexpected twists and turns and leaving the fans unsure.