[MOVIE REVIEW] Harry Styles as an actor? Worry, darling.


Fair Use: Don't Worry Darling official site

STAR POWER. The movie could have cut about 40 minutes of flashbacks and monologues, but this still did not take away from Florence Pugh’s amazing acting throughout the entire movie.

Ivy Raya , RubicOnline

Content warning: descriptions of suicide and murder

Don’t Worry Darling, produced by Olivia Wilde, was released Sept. 23. This thriller movie was anticipated all year and as the audience held their bated breath, Don’t Worry Darling, finally came out… with tons of negative press.

The movie was Harry Style’s acting debut with actors such as Florence Pugh best known for her role as Yelena Romanoff in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or Amy in Little Women. The movie also featured stars like Chris Pine who played Admiral James T. Kirk in Star Trek or Steve Trevor in Wonder Woman, and Gemma Chen another famous actress known for playing Astrid Leong in Crazy Rich Asians. The cast of this movie has no lack of talent which makes one wonder what gave this movie such bad reviews.

The movie is centered around the married couple Jack Chambers (Harry Styles) and Alice Chambers (Florence Pugh). The movie starts in the 1950s and introduces Alice’s and Jack’s married life, and portrays their loving relationship in their small town called Victory. The rules for staying in the community were as long as they didn’t go past the border because if they did they would endanger themselves and the rest of the population. Alice’s day is filled with shopping for dresses at the mall, cleaning the house, sunbathing by the pool, gossiping with her friends Bunny and Margaret, and anything else that fits the stereotype of a typical housewife. While Jack spoils his wife with newly bought dresses and goes to work every day to provide for his wife. This misogynistic old-timey topic can be overdone however the set was beautiful and seeing old coaches and the 50s style was a treat. The set had a pastel theme including retro cars and malls.

Alice is riding the trolley when she sees a plane crash in the middle of the mountains and commands the driver to pull over. The driver explains that he cannot because it is off his path, and tries to convince her that she was imagining things. Furious with his lack of empathy and worry she steps off the trolley to run toward the last known place the plane was seen crashing. She stumbles upon a metal tower with only mirrors making up the walls of the hexagonal tower, she wakes towards her reflection and places her hand on the wall. The movie jump cuts to her waking up at her house with her husband making dinner for her acting as if nothing has happened. She starts to have flashbacks, a close-up of a blue iris fills the screen, flashes of a synchronized swimming team, ballet dances on the floor, and a Marylin Monroe copy swinging her legs back and forth. In the background an ominous melody is playing, this song is repeatedly hummed by Alice throughout the movie, it seems to represent Jack and her’s song.

Frank (Chris Pine) and his wife Shelley (Gemma Chan) host a soiree to celebrate their settlement in this town. As Frank begins his speech, Margaret interrupts and says “We are not supposed to be here.” Her husband quickly ushers her away but later Alice catches a glimpse of her ex-friend Margaret and she says, “They are hiding me.” Confused as to who “they” are Alice stumbles away and continues her search for Jack. This ramps up Alice’s flashbacks as she hallucinates she sees Margaret bang her head against the mirror repeatedly, every horror movie ESC, and Alice rushes out of the dance studio she was in to find Margaret. I then see Maragert slit her throat and fall off the roof of her house, Alice screams and rushed towards her but is held back by men in red jumpsuits who also cover up Margaret’s body. Alice passes out.

When Alice wakes up everyone in the settlement attempts to convince her that what she said was an illusion. This part of the movie had me on the edge of my seat, I wanted to yell at her that none of these people are to be trusted if they are brainwashed and since they have not escaped the confines of their psychological manipulation. The movie begins to allude toward Frank as the one in charge of everything and controlling the women and their husbands. There even is a scene included where Frank promotes Jack, bringing him up on the stage to make him dance in front of the entire party. Alice, distraught, by Frank’s display of power leaves.

However, Alice seems to have caught Frank’s eye (despite having his own wife). The couple later comes by Alice and Jack’s house for a dinner party. Frank claims to know that she is aware and goads her into making a move. Alice falls apart and accuses him of brainwashing her and the rest of the dinner participants, the guests leave in a huff offended and confused. Alice then attempts to convince Jack to leave with her claiming they are not safe. She sags in relief as he agrees but her face drops as she realizes he betrayed her and she is taken away by the men in red to electroshock therapy. Her mind becomes her safe haven from the pain, she has flashbacks to her real life as a doctor, in modern society and Jack, her husband, is not the well-groomed gentleman he pretends to be. Jack is a psychopath and has drugged her and kept her in bed, feeding her liquids and food through a tube while he uses these eye chips to make her see this alternate reality. Apparently, he found out how to do this on a website since he felt unmasculine after losing his job and being unable to provide for his wife.

Up until this point, the movie has been going well. I understood that she needed to leave and that she was being manipulated by a man. However, the plot seems a little far-fetched if it is trying to be realistic since Jack could have been a psychopath and his obsession with Alice uncontrollable. I do think it paints men in a bad image, the movie suggests that if a man loses his job he will automatically feel bitter about the power change within his relationship and go to drastic measures such as drug them into an alternate reality. Apparently, there is a whole community of men out there who did this since each wife is unaware of their situation as Alice was at the beginning of the movie. Alice kills Jack after he grasps her tight enough to strangle her and cue the epic chase scene as she makes a mad dash to the portal that supposedly wakes her up. As soon as she reaches the portal she steps through, not until she waits until the last possible moment mind you, and the words “Don’t Worry Darling” show up on the screen along with a dramatic gasp.

While this scene may be meant to be a cliffhanger it really just reminds me of all the bad horror stories I wrote as a child where I couldn’t decide on the ending so I settled for the whole story being a nightmare they wake up from. The chase scene was unnecessary and the whole movie was 2 hours and 3 minutes, this movie could have saved 40 minutes by cutting down on the back story and monologues of Chris Pine. The flashbacks also did not seem to fit the movie, while it might work in horror movies such as IT, this thriller-horror combo had no need to have eight separate flashback scenes. Though these unnecessary scenes did not take away from Florence Pugh’s amazing acting throughout the entire movie, she has a very successful career ahead of her. I would like to see Genna Chen play a different role besides the mean girl who is superior due to her or her family’s position. For Harry Styles’ first role it was not a total failure, though halfway through the movie I realized he was supposed to be British and it wasn’t his accent just slipping through.