The following contains spoilers for Don’t Worry Darling
I will admit, the reason I decided to go to the theater and watch Don’t Worry Darling was because of the internet drama. Just like everyone else, I studied the Harry Styles spitting videos, the Olivia/Harry/Shia hire fire date tension. When reviews started coming out that said the movie was horrible, I had to see it for myself. So last weekend I spent the $20 and sat down, completely unsure of what I was settling in to see. I quite literally knew nothing about the movie except for the drama, and I think that was for the best.
Don’t Worry Darling is about married couple Jack (Styles) and Alice (Florence Pugh) who live in a utopian society. Everything is picture perfect. Each morning, the wives pack a lunch for their husbands and send them off to work in their fancy cars, waving as they pull out of the driveway in unison. Then, the women clean the house, making sure that it’s picture perfect for when their man returns home at night. There’s only one rule: don’t go to headquarters.
The movie then sends Alice through a series of increasingly difficult tests. First, her former friend Margaret (Kiki Layne) and notably the only black woman with a speaking role in the movie, is no longer her friend because she’s gone “crazy”. She went to headquarters and has been trying to warn everyone about the dangers of where they live ever since. To further add insult to injury, Margaret ends up committing suicide in front of Alice, acting as the catalyst for Alice’s own journey.
Maybe I shouldn’t be, but I am still shocked that in 2022, directors and screenwriters are still killing off black characters first in movies. They are still using black women as inspiration for a white woman’s personal journey. Black people are killed off in movies, especially horror movies, before anyone else at an alarming rate. I’m not sure if this was an intentional decision on the part of the director, but it was most definitely the wrong decision to make. If this was a “feminist film” as Olivia Wilde (the director) claimed, then it was certainly white feminism which works to uplift the upper class while actively harming black women, women of color, and poor women.
The reveal in this movie did shock me, enough that immediately after the film ended I felt like it was well done. But the more I thought about it, the worse I felt. There were still so many elements that just did not make sense. Why did she saran wrap her face? Why did the wall shrink in on her? Why, if the powers that be were able to control all of these things, could they not stop Alice from reaching headquarters?
This movie was Gaslight Gatekeep Girlboss where all of the women were gaslit, Bunny (Wilde) gatekept information from the rest of them, and Alice girlbossed her way to saving only herself and leaving the rest of the women trapped there. This did indeed feel like a vanity project of Wilde’s where she was the only one who chose to be there both in the theater and in the plot.
That wasn’t to say that it was all bad; I did give this movie 3.5 stars, and that’s because the suspense was well done, the creepy scenes were creative and graphically appealing, and the acting by everyone was superb (no, I do not think Harry Styles was as bad of an actor as everyone said). It’s a good movie if you watch it and then never think about it again. If you try to understand it, however, you’ll be left with a film that is just as confusing as the press-tour drama.