Don’t Worry Darling (2022) – Movie Review

do not worry honey2022.

Directed by Olivia Wilde.
Starring Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, Olivia Wilde, Gemma Chan, KiKi Layne, Nick Kroll, Kate Berlant, Douglas Smith, Ari’el Stachel, Asif Ali, Timothy Simons, Sydney Chandler, Wylie Quinn Anderson, Mariah Justice, Michelle Ells and Marcello Julian Reyes.

SYNOPSIS:

A 1950s housewife living with her husband in a utopian experimental community begins to worry that her glamorous company may be hiding disturbing secrets.

Director Olivia Wilde has a clear vision for do not worry honey, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to captivating. Set in a 1950s utopian cul-de-sac, the women are the housewives and the men go to work every day at a seemingly clandestine research facility where they cannot reveal what they are trying to achieve to their partners. Essentially, it’s the reconstructed period (admittedly with fashionable outfits in bright colors that fit into such an idyllic and paradisiacal setting) but within an offbeat area that hides sci-fi and psychological secrets.

There are oddities in the food women are told to prepare, seismic activity, housewives are told not to go beyond a certain point (and not near the men’s workplace), and when they are alone at home, they receive hypnotics. Brainwashing self-help language designed to secure their submission and remind them how good life is for them.

Little is known about this community, other than that Frank (Chris Pine) founded it and is leading the investigation. He claims that it’s about unlocking the full potential of a human being, among many other things that are a lot of nothing. By design, Chris Pine is excellent here, he doesn’t say anything despite rambling about the purpose every time his character gets a chance to speak.

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The ingredients for a solid mystery are here, but do not worry honey frustratingly telegraphs his shocks. The writing team of Katie Silberman, Carey Van Dyke, and Shane Van Dyke not only opted for an obvious and unconvincing reveal, they also committed to rolling out the inevitable carpet for most of the film’s runtime. It also doesn’t help that we saw more or less the same twist in a movie a few years ago (and it was mercilessly trashed for attempting something so ridiculous).

Of course, Olivia Wilde is attempting this plot twist device to address gender roles, misogyny, and more. However, once everything is clarified, do not worry honey doesn’t garner any insightful social commentary, instead turning into car chases and mayhem. There’s a chance that if the filmmakers had tried to lift the veil much sooner, the script would have a little more leeway to flesh out the characters (especially the supporting cast, who mostly appear as characters with nothing to say. interchangeable until we learn something about one of them during the ending that not only feels like it should be more emotional than it is, but has also recently been explored within the same damn concept). The other alternative is to cleverly disguise the truth.

Fortunately for director Olivia Wilde, Florence Pugh is giving it her all. do not worry honey centers on Alice and Jack Chambers (Pugh plays the former, while pop star-turned-actor Harry Styles works his way through a convincing performance before finishing strong). Alice becomes increasingly suspicious that they are not meant to be here, as one of the housewives (played by Kiki Layne in an embarrassingly underwritten role that could have inhabited much more) exhibits erratic behavior and becomes more paranoid. every day. Frank and the community doctor ignore these incidents, but it gives Alice a reason to question the state of affairs and the curiosity to venture into restricted areas.

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Unsurprisingly, Alice is met with gaslighting every step of the way by her husband, Jack, who prioritizes his secret job as he seduces Frank for a promotion. Alice also repeatedly experiences hallucinations of a group of female dancers performing and occasionally passes out only to wake up hours later. It’s a given that men want to keep their wives in check, but mind games are rarely attractive. Aside from a section where Frank psychologically challenges Alice, there’s not much intrigue in that department either.

Florence Pugh and Chris Pine are trying to infuse these characters with depth and substance, but they are doomed by the script. At the same time, it is difficult to call do not worry honey a total flop as the craftsmanship is there too (especially with the production design and numerous dance sequences). The details of the reveal are unsettling, but the overall mystery can also be non-existent. The other shoe takes 100 minutes to fall and then goes nowhere, concluding in an anticlimactic fashion. It’s a disappointing sophomore feature for Olivia Wilde, but an admirable attempt to dive into a different genre.

Flashing Myth Rating – Movie: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★

Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the reviews editor for Flickering Myth. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, or email me at [email protected]

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