Don’t Worry Darling [Grade: 81.66%]

Director: Olivia Wilde

Story By: Katie Silberman, Carey Van Dyke, and Shane Van Dyke

Cast: Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Olivia Wilde, Chris Pine, Gemma Chan, KiKi Layne, Kate Berlant, Nick Kroll, Asif Ali, Sydney Chandler, Douglas Smith, Timothy Simons, and Ari’el Stachel

* * *

The millennial Stepford Wives maybe? I liked it. 

* * *

Theme & Story: A-

Pacing: A-

Character: B

Overall “Paper” Score: B

* * *

Entertainment Factors

General Public: Interesting Enough

Film Enthusiasts: Interesting Enough

Colorful, Psychological Thriller Fans: Interesting Enough

Viewer Experience (Visuals and Score): Wait for Streaming

Overall “Viewing Experience” Score: Don’t Rush

* * *

TAKEAWAYS:

1. A woman starts to discover secrets about her seemingly perfect community after a woman who started questioning her existence goes missing. This is Don’t Worry Darling.

Thematically for me, the film does a decent, albeit rushed, job looking at the intersections and collision-consequences of the expression and/or need for love and control, patriarchy, and agency. 👍🏾

The strength of the story for me is the second half of Act Two and all of Act Three where there’s more character purpose with the story in addition to the consistent engagement, and pieces start to flow together more cohesively. The twists also add to the experience in these 2 acts. 👍🏾

Where the film falls short for me is with some of the choices used to move the plot along that weren’t as clear, such as what leads Alice to her “awakening,” and the “black out” occurrences. It seemed to be more connected to the director’s need for some really cool and captivating stills and visual experiences vs giving explanation to how these situations are influenced by the story and vice versa—especially considering the realization as to how they even “live” in this community. 

2. UGH! Gemma Chan is so damn GORGEOUS! 😩😍😍🙌🏾

3. The Twists! 🫢🫢

4. The soundtrack was a vibe at times! 👍🏾

5. This was a good use of 113 minutes for me. Especially once the that second half of Act 2 kicked in, I was fully invested. So engagement wise, the pacing was strong. 

However… pacing moved a little too fast for me when it came to really developing character existence, purpose, and experience. Additionally, I found the film to move too fast that the themes didn’t have a lot of room to breathe (but there’s a core aspect of the theme that is still recognizable, but then there’s these other layers via other characters that could’ve been unpacked a little more).  🤷🏾‍♂️

6. That celebration dinner scene. 😂 Kate shined in this scene. 

7. Florence was giving everything with her face in the job party scene. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👍🏾

8. She said, “We’re gonna go do some gardening… well, we’re gonna drink and look at flowers.” 😂

9. KiKi Layne came and did what she needed to do, then bounced. 😂

10. Kate Berlant was hilarious! Most of her lines were either background noise, or responses, but they gave exactly what the “idea” of the community and women of this time “were supposed” to give. She was my favorite character. She made some statement when arriving to the Chambers’ house for the celebration dinner about being late—hilarious perfection. 🙌🏾🙌🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

I also liked Florence Pugh as the driver of this story. Her facial expressions, how she questioned things, her engagement with the different characters with her character development was well done. It just came off really authentic. 👍🏾

When it comes to characters and thematic followthrough, it misses the mark for me. Characters seemed to be used to really move the story along vs embody the themes the story needed to move along. In Act 3, we get a brief moment of Pugh’s character intersecting with the theme in her engagement with Styles’ character, but that’s it. 🤷🏾‍♂️

Chris Pine’s character is used to sort of “tell/imply” the theme he carried, but then you get Olivia Wilde’s character which made me want to know a little more about these characters and their purpose. 🥴

* * *

Overall #DontWorryDarling gives The Stepford Wives – meets The Giver – meets Amazon’s Bliss – meets Free Guy

This film is like a banging leftover meal that you put in the microwave, but realized some of it is still a little cold/warm-ish as you are sitting and enjoying it…but it’s not that cold, and the food is still good, so you continue eating anyway…

I really did enjoy this movie mainly for the creativity and clever attempt with the story concept which was pretty ambitious, but executed pretty well. And again, I just have to shout out Kate Berlant. I mean, talk about a character who was meant to be this side background character who somehow was able to use the lines she had to still stand out (at least for me). She was so funny and so true to the setting, like Kathryn Hahn in Wandavision. I really should’ve written in my notes the comment she made when she arrived at the dinner party! That alone was an example of how amazing she was in the background…but I don’t believe in having my phone out during movies. 

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