Writing materials

Review: Lazy Writing Fails in Olivia Wilde’s Thriller

don’t worry darling

Pictures from Warner Bros.

Imagine being promised the best flavor of ice cream, but then going to the ice cream parlor to find it’s sold out. That’s what it’s like to watch Olivia Wilde’s new movie, “Don’t Worry Darling.” With a crazy list of actors, including the phenomenal Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, Gemma Chan and Nick Kroll, as well as enough drama to ignite the internet, this film will ultimately leave viewers with a disappointed taste in their mouths.

“Don’t Worry Darling” follows Alice (Pugh) and Jack (Styles) as they enjoy their perfect 1950s life in the community of Victory. Victory appears to be a newly developed community that is home to the families of husbands who work for the Victory project. Alice seems happy to be a member of the Cult of Domestic Life, but when her friend Margaret (KiKi Layne) begins to descend into madness as she wonders what Project Victory really is, so does Alice. Alice must decide whether or not to maintain the Victory status quo. or push for the truth.

“Don’t Worry Darling” rests much of its success on Pugh’s talented shoulders, and it’s no leap to suggest that his on-screen talents saved this film. Pugh has already proven herself to be a remarkable force in the theater world with her incredible performances in ‘Lady Macbeth’ (2016), ‘Little Women’ (2019) and, of course, the cult classic ‘Midsommar’ (2019) . In this film, Pugh not only demonstrates his innate ability as an actorbut show that it can bring even the dullest material to life.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Pugh’s costars. The problem wasn’t their individual acting, but rather the fact that their characters are so horribly underdeveloped and randomly written that all of their performances feel like they’re done.act. For example, Frank (Pine) had such potential to be a manipulative evil character. Instead, his little screen time is horribly used, feeling more like a one-dimensional villain from a kid’s movie than a legitimate threat. Similar things can be said for all supporting roles. Their performances seem stiff and over the top, with all the characters having such weak motivations. None of this is the fault of the performers, however, more the fault of a script that feels rushed and poorly executed.

The first two acts of “Don’t Worry Darling” are horribly structured and lazily written. The whole premise of the movie is that there’s something wrong with Victory’s community, but it’s established so early in the movie that the pacing is completely cut short. The first and second acts feel like they’re crawling towards the answer to the question “why can’t anyone leave Victory?” Additionally, the film’s stakes are never raised, leading to an intense lack of agency in the film. The film also has many narrative coincidences where plot points happen a little too easily, breaking up the film’s world because it’s so amazing.

The cinematography of “Don’t Worry Darling” is one of its highlights. Interesting framing and shots are used in an attempt to construct Pugh’s descent into madness. Unfortunately, this is easily sidelined by the distracting edit. Shots used for montages and cutaways were used too frequently, leaving viewers to grow weary of them. The viewing experience is also interrupted by a messagepproduction issues, especially regarding audio quality.

“Don’t Worry Darling” is one of the most unsatisfying films of the year, especially when the raw narrative and eventual third-act twist really had so much potential. This becomes even more apparent after reading what original screenplay the end was before Wilde purchased and rewrote the material. Ultimately, this movie feels more committed to being a feature-length spectacle rather than a successful, thrilling story.