Imagine being granted the chance to live a life defined by luxury and independence, only to learn that your happiness is an illusion. That is essentially the elevator pitch for DON’T WORRY DARLING, in which a 1950s-era housewife begins to suspect something sinister is afoot in the seemingly perfect, experimental, isolated community she and her husband call home.
The film is only the second feature from director Olivia Wilde, but you might be quick to assume that she was a veteran of the craft by what she achieves in this unnerving psychological thriller that qualifies as an AMC Artisan Film. Before you see it on the big screen when it hits theatres September 23rd, read on to learn how it earns this honor. But, “don’t worry darling” – we will not give too much away.
Brings A Unique Vision And Perspective
The plot of DON’T WORRY DARLING is one that may have some moviegoers feeling as if they have seen a story like this before. Its societal themes and the genre-specific lens through which they are presented may seem familiar. However, this film is, just about, the best execution of an otherwise particularly familiar concept you could possibly ask for.
After mastering the coming-of-age comedy with BOOKSMART, Olivia Wilde proves here that she also has a real knack for creating a thoroughly chilling atmosphere and keeping you invested with every game-changing turn in Katie Silberman, Carey Van Dyke and Shane Van Dyke’s script. She boasts a stunning attention to detail on every level, from character to setting to the film’s serene aesthetic – brought to life by two-time Academy AwardⓇ-nominated cinematographer Matthew Libatique. Wilde makes it clear that she is not the kind of filmmaker who is willing to repeat herself, but hopefully there are more psychological thrillers in her future.
Pushes Boundaries And Sparks Conversation
Of course, great thrillers directed by women are nothing new – i.e. Mary Harron’s AMERICAN PSYCHO or Jennifer Kent’s THE BABADOOK or OscarⓇ winner Kathryn Bigelow’s entire filmography. Yet, DON’T WORRY DARLING is coming out at a time when female filmmakers are deservedly becoming more celebrated, and Wilde’s inspired, passionate and stylish approach to it could very likely be remembered as a landmark moment in this new era.
Not to mention, it also helps that the film’s female-driven plot is rightfully being told by a woman at the helm. Wilde’s fresh and thrilling take on the material and its enthralling aesthetic is sure to have moviegoers discussing – perhaps even going as far as debating – its depiction of what truly defines an idyllic life, the cost of that utopian lifestyle and if that cost is truly worth it.
Unites An Acclaimed Cast
Perhaps the strongest element of DON’T WORRY DARLING and the one that really makes the film a captivating experience is its incredible, star-studded ensemble. Florence Pugh is, as usual, a commanding force in the lead role of Alice Chambers, delivering a convincing portrayal of a marriage on the rocks alongside Harry Styles as her husband, Jack. Wilde also pulls double duty stunningly in the supporting role of Bunny – the wife of Nick Kroll’s Dean.
Kiki Layne gives a memorably heartbreaking performance as Margaret while Kate Berlant is extremely charming as Peg and “Veep’s” Timothy Simons is perfectly eerie as Dr. Collins. The real scene-stealers from the cast, however, are the magnetic Chris Pine as Frank – the creator of the strange community in which DON’T WORRY DARLING is set – and ETERNALS star Gemma Chan, who gives a mesmerizing and utterly mysterious performance as his wife, Shelley.
Stretches Actors Outside Their Comfort Zones
It is a genuine possibility that Florence Pugh could earn her second Academy Award nomination for DON’T WORRY DARLING, in which she channels the heart-wrenching trauma she exhibited in 2019’s MIDSOMMAR, but, instead of essentially drowning in her vulnerability, adds a refreshing layer of strength. Having already proved his talents beyond pop music with Christopher Nolan’s DUNKIRK, Harry Styles puts on a surprising disappearing act here, as does Chris Pine in a role that is a far cry from the likes of STAR TREK’s charming and heroic Captain Kirk, for instance.
While comedian Nick Kroll has also demonstrated his ability for dramatic acting before – such as in 2016’s LOVING – what he does with this otherwise relatively small part really urges more chances to shine in similar roles. DON’T WORRY DARLING also offers fellow comic Kate Berlant the much-deserved larger presence she had not previously been granted in her otherwise extraordinary resume, which includes SORRY TO BOTHER YOU and ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD.
Features A Compelling Score
Throughout DON’T WORRY DARLING, Florence Pugh’s Alice finds herself constantly humming a tune that she cannot get out of her head yet is unable to identify. The endearing, yet subtly ominous track – which also accompanies the film’s haunting trailer – turns out to be one of the many clues that begin to open her eyes to the truth behind her reality.
The song was written by Harry Styles, who told Variety that he wanted to make it feel “both sweet and creepy.” We would say that he succeeded beautifully, especially in how well the instrumental is woven into Oscar nominee John Powell’s otherwise spine-tingling score.
DON’T WORRY DARLING is bound to be remembered as the most visually stunning and thought-provoking psychological thriller of 2022. It will continue to haunt your mind long after the credits roll, just like an AMC Artisan Film should.DON’T WORRY DARLING