Don’t Worry Darling

By Joanna Langfield

There’s something interesting buried deep in this utopian mystery. But watching the Hitchcockian thriller without Hitchcock pulling the strings made me feel as if I didn’t give a spit.

Olivia Wilde’s sophomore effort (her Booksmart was terrific) definitely has goals, but, for the most part, only yearns to reach them. We meet Alice and Jack, a hot young couple living in an experimental housing unit out in the California desert. It’s all 1950’s ideals, the architecture, cars, and societal structure. The immaculately dressed women stay home and clean while their husbands disappear to work they will not talk about. There are parties, lots of drinking, and everybody is told they have it made, mostly by the head of the community, whose motivational lectures are piped into the beautiful mid-century modern homes when he isn’t showing up at some spiffy event or another. But we, like Alice, begin to see some cracks in the facade. And pretty soon, all hell is breaking loose.

I couldn’t help but wonder what a more experienced, perhaps nuanced director could have done with Katie Silberman’s promising script. Certainly, star Florence Pugh is game as the beautiful blonde who begins to worry about her albeit tempting surroundings, And Chris Pine is dandy when he gets to show up as the leader of this not so picky pack. But Harry Styles is wasted as Jack, never capitalizing on the charisma that has made him an international star. He comes across here as kind of milquetoast, which may have 1950’s traces, but certainly doesn’t engage us as an audience in 2022.

Of course, the onset rumors and hoopla in front of the press surrounding this film have become the stuff of some legend, if not, at the very least, fodder for some good gossip. Sadly, that may be more entertaining than the movie itself, which just comes off as a rather unpleasant piece of business.