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Release Date: 09
/23/22 [Cinemas / HBO MAX]
Genre: Drama/Thriller

Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures

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


Looking beyond the inescapable drama that unfolded leading up to its release, I enjoyed this movie. It’s not perfect, and in fact I’m shocked at how many of its flaws I was able to look past in order to fully dive deep into the facade of its world. Behind the scenes catastrophe aside, I tucked that all away and let the trolley ride take me into Victory. 


Alice and Jack Chambers happily reside inside the Victory neighborhood: a mid-century oasis in the middle of a Californian desert. They are close with their neighbors and have a solid daily routine. The women wake up, cook their husbands breakfast and wave them goodbye as they all speed off to work in tandem. Every 50’s housewife trope is on full display. The women shop at the one and only store in town, transported by the one and only trolley that will take them only so far. Alice is approached by one of her neighbors who seems troubled, but she shakes it off. That is, until she witnesses the trouble for herself and starts to question everything around her (only to be met with disbelief from Jack). The others assure Alice everything is fine, especially after it's established that nothing is, in fact, fine. 


Alice is a really strong character and Florence Pugh makes sure she realizes her full potential. This is a very different Florence performance, one that I knew was always there but didn’t actually know it ‘til I saw it, you know? I’m optimistic for her upcoming award season. Although, I’m not sure many people will agree the film as a whole is even worth considering.


I fancied Harry Styles’ performance as Jack, more than I anticipated. I wasn’t thrilled for him in the trailer, but once the movie picked up, and the context of his character was explained, I really dug it. 


It’s clear director Olivia Wilde held a passion for this story, one that had to be told in such a specific way. However, by the third act it felt like the story swayed a different path, leaving me with questions. For example, two characters have a heated argument later in the film when they’ve never really spoken one on one. It barely drives the plot forward, but it feels like it should. Another instance actually occurred when my friends & I were leaving the theater. “So, what was ____ about?” was a top of mind question for all of us. It was then I realized the movie was missing a rather large detail that was never explained from act one. To me, it felt like scenes were taken out and left on the cutting room floor and they hoped the audience would notice. Because of all these tiny inconsistencies, the film itself is confused about its overall message. 


Moving on to the stuff that DID make sense – all the other performances? STELLAR. The set design is Grade A. I love mid-century modern style and it bothers me when films attempt to emulate it with obvious modern details that throw the aesthetic off. This was an art department that truly pulled all the stops. It genuinely looked like something out of a retro Sears catalog. Also, the score was freaking awesome and I loved how it tied into Alice’s story. 


There were a lot of details and stories that weren’t tied up along with rushed randomness in the last few minutes. That's not to say I will never watch this movie again, I absolutely will. I just think these characters and their actors deserved a bigger, more thought out ending from this filmmaking team. 


I enjoyed seeing this in the theater, but I also think this is a fun movie night sort of pick whenever it comes to streaming. Don’t Worry Darling is on VOD and HBO MAX (for now)!

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