Don’t worry Darling…?

Don’t worry Darling…?

            Don’t worry, Darling is a second “big” film directed by Olivia Wilde. That did not convince me to watch it, to be honest. Harry Styles? Great performer but a mediocre actor. It was Florence Pugh and Florence Pugh only. And she was one of the few things that didn’t disappoint. 

Always. You and me.

            When I first watched the trailer for Don’t worry… I was intrigued. It seemed chilling – like literally seeing chills down my spine. And then I completely forgot about it until the drama unfolded. Actually, as we learnt quite recently the drama started back in 2021. 

But before we talk about all that behind-the-scenes, let me tell you about the movie itself: it’s a psychological thriller but in my opinion, Olivia tried to jump over a bar that was simply set too high for her. And really – fiving yourself quite a big secondary role in your own movie? Instead of a cameo? Awww. Bonus minus points: initially, Wilde was supposed to play Florence’s role. Yuck. 

Via IMDb

Don’t worry Darling tells a story of an idyllic housewife (Pugh) living in a 1950s-styled town, who begins to suspect a disturbing secret being kept from its residents by the man (Pine) who runs it. Oh yes, Chris Pine was the second reason I went to the cinema to watch it. 

All they ask of us is to stay here. Where it’s safe.

            The idea of the script (written by Katie Silberman, based on a story by Katie, Carey Van Dyke and Shane Van Dyke), though it came out a little too similar to The Stepford Wives (1975) and Get Out (2017) – but I don’t blame the writers, I blame the director. And, what is really funny – in Wilde’s words: bad movies are the director’s fault. 

To be fair, Don’t worry… wasn’t awful film. Miss Flo shined through, even though she had absolutely nothing to prove. Her “real” breakthrough performance in Midsommar proved everything we needed to know – she will be a real movie Star, with a capital “s”. 

don't
Via IMDb

Her performance was spot on – slowly turning every stone in the (too) perfect picture. Her character – Alice – seemed a bit lost in that new, seemingly unflawed neighborhood. Things start to crumble as her mind plays “tricks” on her – tricks that become the dreaded realization – everything comes with a price.

What is the opposite of progress? Chaos. Chaos, an ugly word.

            The main antagonist – Frank (Chris Pine) was a fantastic, gaslighting villain. He played a calculated, cold game with Alice and did it with a devilish charm. I feel that he couldn’t exactly spread his wings due to how Wilde lead the plot. 

Gemma Chan shined as well, having merely few minutes on screen – but with an actress like Chan, that’s all you really need. She was magnificent in her “lady queen” character. She gave the goddess energy a lot of women are too afraid to show. Which, by the way, is one of the saddest diseases, but that’s not the point here.

Via IMDb

As for Harry Styles – he played Jack, Alice’s husband – I am very torn. He has the looks, charms and wit, but I am not sure he is a good actor. Maybe I am not sure yet – his role in Dunkirk – quieter movie – wasn’t big enough to give him a scoring; and the cameo in Eternals looked promising but… it’s a cameo.

Casting him as a leading man in Don’t worry Darling seemed like a targeted move made by a money-oriented director. Harsh? Maybe, but this is how it felt. Harry did a good job to captivate a certain type of audience, but his performance wasn’t thrilling. 

I’ve been waiting for someone like you. Someone to challenge me. Like a good girl.

            And to be honest? I feel like originally casted in Jack’s role Shia LaBeouf would do a better job portraying the husband. There, I said it. At this point, I don’t want to go to his personal life, I will not defend him, I will only focus on his acting – a little erratic, so perfect for a movie like this.

“Quiet firing” of LaBeouf backfired right in Olivia Wilde’s face. She kept saying that letting Shia go was due to the way he made cast and especially Florence Pugh feel. Wilde said to Variety: “I believe that creating a safe, trusting environment is the best way to get people to do their best work. Ultimately, my responsibility is to the production and to the cast to protect them. That was my job”.

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Via IMDb

That was lie number one and a beginning to a full-on drama, bad publicity and toxic atmosphere. Shia provided evidence to Variety as well, stating that he made a decision to quit the film, despite Wilde’s desperate effort to keep him on board. He showed a video of a conversation with the director, in which she claimed: “I feel like I’m not ready to give up on this yet, and I, too, am heartbroken and I want to figure this out. You know, I think this might be a bit of a wake-up call for Miss Flo, and I want to know if you’re open to giving this a shot with me, with us”.

Remember, ladies, there is beauty in control. There is grace in symmetry. We move as one.

            There are also multiple reports saying that there were “knives out” on set of Don’t worry Darling between Florence and Olivia, which ultimately resolved in a limited time contributed by Flo to the promotion of the movie. 

At the end of the day, the Venice Film Festival was the biggest thriller. At a press conference, Wilde stated that Pugh is shooting Dune part 2 in Italy, while the latter appeared in full grace, violet and with Aperol Spritz in her hand. 

Chris Pine also gave the strongest “this is a joke” vibe during the press events – you could see his soul flee the body more than once. It must have been a nightmare. A cherry on top, though? Cast together on the red carpet, posing for pictures without Olivia Wilde and once she wanted to join to stand next to Harry… He moved, as if he didn’t want to be around her.

            Lastly, one of the best things that happened: entire cast of Don’t worry… hyped the absolute fluff out of Florence on red carpet. Nick Kroll and Gemma Chan cheering while Pine took analog pictures of the real star? I am all in for that kind of love.

Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images – © 2022 Getty Images – Image courtesy gettyimages.com

What are you doing at the Victory Project?

            I’m conflicted at the level of emotion this movie – or rather the situation around it – created. Due to the complicated nature, lies and deception, it’s hard to let this go. Which… Obviously influenced the way I judged this film. 

It was creepy in the worst possible way, though – it’s a psychological thriller after all. The weird sound mixing added to already peaking anxiety and I think this was Wilde’s goal all along. So, a small success after all.

Via IMDb

I believe that movies should trigger some emotions, but not such hostile and vile. At the end of the day, I think it’s worth giving a try, just out of curiosity for the genre itself. But if you need one reason to give it a shot, here it is: Florence Pugh vs. Chris Pine.

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