When someone calls you darling, is it comforting or patronizing? As one of the most anticipated movies of this year, “Don’t Worry Darling” has finally dropped. This movie has a stellar cast including Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Olivia Wilde, Chris Pine, Gemma Chan and Nick Kroll.
“Don’t Worry Darling” is set in a 1950s suburb where Alice, played by Pugh, and her husband Jack, played by Styles, live in a small community called Victory, that houses the families working on a top secret experiment. While the husbands are at work, the wives are left to enjoy a frivolous, care-free life. When odd occurrences start to disrupt the reality of her life, Alice faces serious questions about why she is living in Victory.
Pugh’s performance in this film is remarkable. Through the entire movie, it is evident Pugh is giving her all in her performance and it showcases her acting range. Many of the scenes and themes in the movie required a lot of emotion and boy, did she deliver. She conveys an array of compelling emotions such as joy, curiosity, terror, sadness, confusion, mundanity and scared determination. Pugh’s acting is so well done, the audience cannot help but sympathize with her. The critical reviews of the movie do not reflect the amount of artistic skill and layered performance Pugh expresses. This movie is by far the best work Pugh has demonstrated yet.
There has been some controversy over Harry Styles’ presence in this movie, as well. Although he was not up to snuff with the talent Pugh demonstrated, Styles was able to give a convincing performance all things considered.
As one of the main roles, Styles was required to give almost as much emotion as Pugh. It should be pointed out that he is not a professional actor so the amount of emotion and skill he was able to convey was impressive. Styles was able to convey anger, frustration, passion, determination, psychosis and easy-going class. In defense of all of the nay-sayers about Styles’ acting, it was hard to separate cultish, pop icon “Harry Styles” from the role Styles depicted in the movie.
Overall, the film was a fascinating new take on the mysterious thriller genre. The film’s pacing was slow at the beginning, however once it picked up, there was deeper plot development and character building.
The one critique about this movie is that most of the symbolism or odd flashing sequences that were used as set up in the first half of the movie were not explained or contributed little to nothing to the overarching plot. Due to the nature of said symbolism and sequences, it might have served as one added layer of cinematography to build up the tension to really deliver the thriller aspect of the movie. However, these undescribed elements might set up a potential sequel in the years to come.
One major theme in the movie was gaslighting. Gaslighting was a central part of the mysterious Victory community and the effects of treating people this way lingered in a way that suggested the toxicity and demeaning nature of it.
Another major theme was traditional gender roles. The film’s progression of events compares traditional roles to the modern gender roles that are more seen today. Because the film was set in the 1950s, it explores the expectation for women to cook, clean and stay strong to support their husband while he makes the money and the absence of these women in the home. The flip of said traditional gender roles accentuates the grip these roles have and misconceptions that are often attached. As this movie tackles some serious topics, be cautious if you have a trigger regarding abuse, suicide, alcoholism and violence.