There’s an endless number of films with behind the scenes drama, but what matters is whether the film can surpass the in real life issue to survive on its own. In the case of Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling, it never manages to be more than the sum of its parts and is purely an exercise in style over substance.
Wilde — or star Florence Pugh, depending on who you ask — provides Don’t Worry Darling with style to spare, but can’t make up for the fact that writer Katie Silberman’s script barely makes a lick of sense. Feeling like an entire mystery box TV show season crammed into two hours, the only reason to see the film is for the performances from Pugh, Harry Styles, and Chris Pine.
When your life seems too perfect, have you ever stopped to wonder if it actually could be too good to be true? Alice (Pugh) is living in the lap of luxury with her husband, Jack (Styles), in the middle of the desert. Working for the secretive Victory Project, Alice spends her days by the pool with her friends — the other wives: Bunny (Wilde), Margaret (KiKi Layne), Violet (Sydney Chandler), and Peg (Kate Berlant) — when they aren’t taking the trolley to go shopping.
One day, Alice sees something she can’t explain — more so than the random quakes felt through the community — and Margaret has been starting to fall apart after the disappearance of her son. And before you know it, Alice starts possibly unraveling as well, while setting herself up as a worthy adversary for the mysterious Frank (Pine) who runs the project.
The cast is absolutely the best part of Don’t Worry Darling from start to finish. Pugh is as masterful as always, while showing some actual chemistry with Styles. However, she has even more chemistry with Pine, but, unfortunately, don’t share anywhere near enough scenes together. There’s also more than enough additional supporting actors — Gemma Chan, Nick Kroll, and Timothy Simons — to help Pugh carry the load.
Unfortunately, no matter how slick Wilde’s end product may be, Don’t Worry Darling suffers from barely coming together before the credits roll. The mystery also winds up being way more icky and gross than surprising, and least of all, shocking. But by then, there are already way more questions than answers, however, I can’t think of anyone who could possibly want to see further adventures of Alice in Victoryland.