Review: Don’t Worry Darling

(Graphic by Catherine Eldridge | Collegian Media Group)

There’s a lot of buzz surrounding the new movie “Don’t Worry Darling,” considering it stars famous singer Harry Styles and actress Florence Pugh. This leaves viewers to wonder if the film is actually good because of the plot, cinematography and character development, or if movie-goers are simply fangirling over the famous pop star’s appearance. 

The story follows Alice Chambers, played by Florence Pugh, a lovely young housewife who tends to her house and her husband. The story seemingly takes place in the 1950s; the quaint cars are bright with pastel paint jobs, every green lawn is manicured to perfection and the enchanting little houses circle pristine cul-de-sacs. However, something is immediately off. It’s almost as though the scenes glitch slightly throughout the story.

Harry Styles plays Jack Chambers, Alice’s husband. Every day he goes off to work and Alice stays home cleaning the house and cooking a meal for him. Jack works for a company called The Victory Project. Alice often questions the nature of his work throughout the film but is always told the men’s work there is top secret. 

Alice maintains a vibrant social life — she is constantly visiting her neighbors, attending dinner parties and laying out by the pool. One day, as she’s riding in the town’s trolley, she watches a plane spiral out of the sky and into the nearby mountains. Panicked, she asks the trolley driver to stop and runs out to see if she can help. However, upon approaching the plane crash, she instead comes across an odd white structure with mirror windows and no door. As she approaches the building, the world seems to vibrate. Then, everything goes black. 

Alice finds herself back in bed and emerges into the kitchen to find Jack cooking her a meal. She tries to explain to him what happened, but he tells her when he got home she was fast asleep. She convinces herself it was all a dream.

Margaret is one of Alice’s close friends but is seen as an outcast because of her “outbursts.” She is convinced the women need to leave the town, which they are strictly forbidden to do. One day, Alice comes across Margaret standing atop her house with a knife in hand. As she slits her throat and falls, Alice attempts to run toward her but is pulled back by men in red jumpsuits. After this, everything descends into chaos.

Viewers come to find out the entire 1950s Victory Project setup is actually a virtual simulation. In real life, Alice Chambers is a nurse who works long hours while Jack Chambers, her degenerate boyfriend, can’t keep a job and instead spends all of his days on the computer. Jack, unsatisfied with his life and his inability to provide, finds the simulation and decides to join.

Alice has no say in whether or not to enter the simulation; Jack chooses for her. Each day when he “goes to work,” he is actually leaving the simulation to maintain their apartment and both of their physical bodies. When Alice discovers this, she tries to warn the other women, but none believe her. She ends up murdering Jack, seemingly by accident, and attempts to leave the village. As she races out of the town, she’s chased by the same men in red jumpsuits. It is left up to viewers to decide if she makes it out of the simulation.

The premise of the movie is interesting enough, but the character development isn’t there. It would have been beneficial to the story had we seen more about Jack in the real world. It is left unclear how he came upon The Victory Project and why it was created. Viewers do not get to know if the man behind the simulation is profiting or if he has some other ulterior motive.

It also would have been better if the audience got to see more parallels between Florence’s character in real life and the simulation. In real life, Alice is a driven, motivated nurse with a passion for helping people, but in the simulation, all she does is cook and clean. Viewers don’t see her passion or drive. However, the cinematography, sets and props are done exquisitely and are, quite honestly, the stars of the show.

Consider watching “Don’t Worry Darling” for more of a mindless pastime and not for a philosophical experience.