I Am Worried, Darling! 

SPOILER ALERT: Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, and Olivia Wilde dispute rumors revealed 

Claire Arneson, Editor

I saw “Don’t Worry Darling,” and I cannot say that I am worried or enthralled for that matter. Not only was this movie either extremely praised or harshly critiqued, but the drama leading up to its release would also be considered a psychological thriller. Audiences wonder if the calamity was staged, if it was for publicity, or if it was real and got out of hand. After the showing of the film at the Venice Film Festival, reviews were pouring in, and they were bad. I used this month’s UND movie voucher to see this film this past weekend, and I still do not get it.   

Before I talk about the events pre-showing, let us talk about what happened before the credits rolled. We open in the 1950s when Jack and Alice Chambers have moved to a sunny desert where a top-secret operation called the Victory Project is underway. While Jack is at work, Alice and the other wives in Victory cook, clean, shop, and wait for their husbands to come home. Alice starts to notice that something is not what it seems when a fellow wife starts to question what is happening when the husbands go to work. This further sets Alice off when she sees a plane crash in the one place she is not allowed to go, the desert. She encounters a mysterious building where her mind becomes warped, they say it is delusions, but it looks like old memories.   

Peculiar events start to occur with Alice as she tries to go back to her normal life such as the eggs she bought do not have yolks and her windows start to close in on her. When she tries to talk to her friends and husband about it, they dismiss her and ask her to take medication from the doctor, but she refuses. After Jack gets a promotion -following a very weird-puppet-like dance scene- Alice invites the founder, Frank, over for dinner to confront him. Frank dismisses her claims of his control and odd society, which causes the dinner guests to leave Jack to his wife. Alice asks him to leave with her saying they need to get out of town. He agrees but instead sets her up to be taken by security.   

When she is taken in for electric shock therapy, we find out that she lived a completely different life before this. In a modern setting, Alice is a doctor working ungodly shifts, and Jack is an unemployed couch warmer. He is upset that Alice is the breadwinner in the family and found out about the Victory Project through a men’s rights activist podcast. We see Alice get dragged away in the flashback and then jump to her reentering Victory with her memory wiped, yet it was not completely gone. She gets another flashback that reveals another twist.  

It is a simulation! Alice is currently strapped to a bed, her eyes held open by a device that shows her as the perfect housewife. Jack did this to “give her the life she deserved.” We further find out that when he goes to work in the simulation, he is leaving said simulation and going to work in the real world to afford it. Alice is not happy and accidentally kills him while he is begging on his knees. She runs out of the house and tries to wake herself up before Victory can catch her. She makes it to the exit, and the movie ends with a black screen and Alice’s heavy breathing, insinuating that she woke up.   

The movie itself was better than I thought it would be. It could have been a little tighter, for example, there were a couple of plot holes that were overbearing. Florence Pugh took this role and rocked it. She truly made the movie for me. Although she was very good in this film, rumor has it she had to put up with a lot of chaos. Pugh refused to do PR for the movie, and she remained quiet throughout the press and only seemed engaged when the Venice Film Festival came around. Many speculate that she was silent due to the rumored affair between the director Olivia Wilde and Harry Styles while Wilde was still with her ex-husband Jason Sudeikis.   

There was also the Shia Labeouf vs.Wilde drama where Wilde said she fired Labeouf and replaced him with Styles due to concerns of “Miss Flo.” Labeouf actually released footage of Wilde begging him to stay, but he could not because of rehearsal time and scheduling conflicts. Pugh and Labeouf seemed to have a good relationship, but after the press got a hold of text messages between the two, it showed them sharing dog pictures with each other, which is something mortal enemies would most likely not do.   

The drama continues when the other cast mates went for the press. Critics have pulled snippets from interviews of Chris Pine and Harry Styles speaking of the movie, and people argue that Pine is “obviously” annoyed by what Styles was saying. There is also the spit at the Venice Film Festival. Did Harry Styles spit on Chris Pine? Probably not, but it looked like it. Styles then performed at a concert where he made a joke saying, “I just popped over to Venice to spit on Chris Pine.” Pine’s publicists say that it did not happen.   

Overall, the movie had some good points. I cannot complain about the visuals, cinematography, or the acting, but I will say that it was hard to grasp. The beginning is slow, and although it picks up towards the end, it does not make up for the lacking plot. The title tells us not to worry, but I am. I am worried because it has been 2 days, and I am not sure I fully understand the movie. Why was there an airplane in the beginning of the film? If her whole life was a simulation, how does she get sustenance, or how does she go to the bathroom? Was the movies intention to focus on gender roles? Or was it an excuse to cast Harry Styles?    

Through all of this, we are still wondering if the drama was a way to promote the movie or if it was all real. Either way, it did not do the movie any good. To conclude, the movie was not as bad as I thought it would be, but it has left me with questions I do not think will ever be answered. Is this what the director intended? Don’t worry about it, darling. 

Claire Arneson is a Dakota Student Editor. She can be reached at [email protected].