Don’t Worry Darling Review


Noa Paparo, Staff Writer

WARNING: Contains spoilers for Don’t Worry Darling

Imagine that it’s 2:00 am on Saturday night. You’ve been scrolling through your TikTok For You Page for far too long when a video actually catches your attention. It’s captioned “POV: Your life is a virtual reality.” You’re almost at the end of the video when your phone suddenly dies. You decide it’s about time to go to bed, but the video overtakes your thoughts. You’re forced to imagine your own ending to the TikTok as you drift off to sleep. And…? It’s the at-home version of Don’t Worry Darling.


In the summer of 2019, actor and director Olivia Wilde disclosed to the public that she was working on a new project, Don’t Worry Darling. Wilde was previously best known for her work directing the 2019 movie Booksmart, a story about making up for lost time in adolescence before it becomes too late. Filled with chaotic teenage adventures, Don’t Worry Darling greatly contrasts this previous work as a physiological thriller. 


The stand-out of the film was the incredible lead, Florence Pugh, playing Alice Chambers.  Pugh was the glue holding the movie together. She depicted consistent emotions of paranoia and fear, setting the mood of certain scenes, and used facial expressions to  make the concern behind her perfect housewife facade visible. Her acting clearly showed how Alice was feeling at different stages of paranoia, and helped my understanding throughout the movie.

As a Harry Styles fan, I hate to say that his acting as co-lead Jack Chambers was mediocre and did not stand out to me. However, I quite enjoyed Styles’ acting in one particular scene where he sabotages Alice in his car. Jack shows raw emotion when he repeatedly tells Alice that he is sorry through tears and anger. His performance was underwhelming, despite Olivia Wilde’s claime that playing Jack Chambers would be the “breakout role” for the singer. Styles’ acting in his other recent film, My Policeman was much more enjoyable.


Don’t Worry Darling is  confusing and there were many plot holes. Initially, the story had a huge amount of potential, but the film ultimately felt unfinished and messy to me.

The plot of Don’t Worry Darling had an amazing set up; an unusually perfect life crumbling down in front of our faces. At the beginning, we see a glimpse into the daily routine of the Chambers’ neighborhood. Alice and the other housewives cook their husbands breakfast as an announcement plays over the radio wishing citizens of the “Victory Project” a good day in paradise. The wives then come outside and wave to their husbands as they head out for work. Their lives begin to decline as another member of the project, Margaret, played by Kiki Layne, starts to rebel against the so-called paradise. Frank, played by Chris Pine, along with the leader of the Victory Project, claims that she’s just having delusions, but this just deepens Alice’s suspicions. As Alice tries to uncover what the Victory Project really is, it seems as if there is no one she can trust, driving her insane. 

The movie begins to lose consistency at the end. Alice walks to the edge of the land that the Victory Project is built on, a forbidden place where she knows not to go to. There she discovers an unusual invisible wall. Alice decides to confront Frank and his wife Shelley, played by Gemma Chang, about it over dinner. In this scene, Alice gets out of character and decides to completely rebel against everything she has ever been taught, despite previously seeming afraid of Frank. It’s decided that Alice is getting out of control, so Frank and other unnamed characters in charge of the victory project have her brain altered to how it was before the movie’s timeline took place. Everything goes back to normal for just a few minutes before Alice conveniently has a vision that explains to her every detail of the Victory Project that she needed to know. This was very sudden at the moment and made the ending feel very rushed. In this vision, Alice finds out that she used to live as a doctor with her boyfriend in a small apartment. The boyfriend, Jack —though he may have had a completely different name— felt bad that Alice was struggling with making money and decided to sign them up for the Victory Project. She finds out that her entire world has been a virtual reality and that her memory was washed before being placed there. 

After the vision ends, Alice is understandably angry with Jack. They get into a fight which ends with Jack on his knees begging her to stay in the virtual reality with him. He wraps his arms around Alice’s waist to keep her in place, but claiming that she can’t breathe, Alice hits Jack in the head with a nearby glass. Then..? He dies from the impact. And it’s not only his character, he dies in real life too. This again felt like a sudden and rushed way to make the movie come to an end. After accidentally murdering him, Alice decides that she has to get back to the invisible wall and get out of her virtual cage. 

As she begins to escape, the movie cuts to Frank and Shelley’s house. They seem to be having a calm conversation about Alice in their kitchen when Shelley suddenly stabs Frank with a knife. I personally have no idea why. The movie comes to an end with Alice being chased as she heads to the exit of the Victory Project. She makes it to the door and then the screen goes black. The movie ends leaving me with many questions. I found Don’t Worry Darling very entertaining, but I can’t fully appreciate it when the ending did not fulfill its own potential.


Despite the questionable plot, the design of the movie is amazing. The combination of production design done by Katie Bryon and Cinematography done by Matthew Libatique made the most gorgeous visuals. Bryon included themes from different parts of the twentieth century to purposely make the film a little strange. This is evident in every part of the movie, from their homes to the unusual flash visions that Alice experiences. The costume design done by Arianne Phillips was wonderful as well, with 50s era outfits that brought many bright colors to the movie. 


Don’t Worry Darling could be a great choice for when you’re next searching for something to watch. It’s ultimately entertaining and beautiful, despite my personal issues with some of its plot points.