Don’t Worry Darling displays dazzling performances

Plank Article Oliver Leinberger ’23

Psychological thriller film “Don’t Worry Darling” hit theaters on Sept. 23, 2022. The movie was directed by Olivia Wilde and written by Katie Silberman, and features a star-studded cast including Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, and Gemma Chan.

The film’s plot follows the protagonist, Alice, played by Pugh, who is a housewife in an idyllic 1950’s-esque neighborhood called Victory. Her husband, Jack (Harry Styles) – as well as every other man – has a mysterious job with the Victory Project, a secret organization founded by Frank (Chris Pine). Strange things start to happen in this perfect town, and Alice realizes that there is a dark secret to Victory. 

From now until the end, this review will feature spoilers. If you haven’t watched the movie yet, I would recommend skipping to the last paragraph.

The best parts of the movie overall were the plot twists. The movie continued to surprise me throughout, especially when Alice found out that Victory, the seemingly perfect world, was actually an artificial simulation. In flashbacks, we see Alice as a successful surgeon whose life was taken from her once Jack decided to enroll himself and his wife in this project. Not only that, Alice’s friend Bunny (Olivia Wilde) reveals that she has known about the project’s real plan for years, and she voluntarily stays in Victory to be with her artificial children. 

Another great aspect of the film was the incorporation of numerous short and unsettling clips of eyes, blood, and eerie dancing. They really brought another level of intensity and drama to the movie that made me further appreciate it. After learning the truth behind the Victory Project, I realized that these clips were played whenever Alice was unknowingly briefly exiting and entering the simulation and remembering her past in the real world, and this added a sense of dread and fear into an already grim and unpleasant world the film had created.

I loved how conceptually interesting this film was. There were many scenes that were open to interpretation – what mirrors symbolize and why Frank’s wife, Shelly (Gemma Chan), stabbed him, to name a few. Not to mention the moral implications of a simulation of this quality and what it means for the nature and future of humanity. These interesting and cunning plot developments allowed me to look deeper into the film and decipher what each scene, action, and piece of dialogue was trying to convey. They also allowed for a viewing experience that kept the audience engaged and on its toes.

Florence Pugh’s performance was also outstanding with her emotional tones and facial expressions, and her ability to hold the viewer’s interest as the plot progresses was key to creating the movie’s suspenseful atmosphere. 

Overall, I recommend you see this film if you haven’t already. Don’t worry if you didn’t see it in theaters because “Don’t Worry Darling” is now streaming on HBOMax.