Don’t Worry Darling came out in 2022 among a flurry of drama. The cast has Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Gemma Chan, Kiki Layne, Ari’el Stachel, Chris Pine, and Olivia Wilde (also the director of the film). This psychological thriller, set in a utopian 1950s community, was meant to explore women’s unfulfillment in the roles of solely wives and mothers. We were promised shiny sets and female self-realization. But honestly, after watching the movie, it was quite underwhelming.
I found the drama surrounding the making of this movie more enticing than the movie itself. That’s one of the reasons I waited so long to actually watch the movie. The main drama surrounds Olivia Wilde and Harry Styles. They were dating during the creation of the movie but have since broken up. There was also rumored tension between the cast on set, especially when initially Shia Lebouf, an admitted abuser, was a part of the project. When the actual plot of your movie is overshadowed by a video where it looks like Harry Styles spits on Chris Pine at an award show, marketing for your movie needs to be upped.
The cinematography was highly anticipated for this movie. But when I watched it I felt underwhelmed. All the interesting shots were put in the trailer, which didn’t leave much to look forward to. In between the dynamic shots from the trailer were mostly boring long wide shots. Although there were places where those creative shots would have fit well, like during one of the dinner scenes, they were shot traditionally, making the scene fall flat. This is the same for many of the aspects of this movie, especially the plot. The entire time I was watching the movie I was waiting for a plot twist that never happened. The entire plot was given away in the trailer and with the promo.
Female pain is something commonly portrayed in the media. There is a fascination with seeing the suffering inflicted on others. I believe the emphasis on women’s suffering comes from women historically suppressing their emotions and their pain. This movie focuses on how things are taken from the women in this movie by men; their autonomy, freedom of thought, and self-expression are all suppressed to make them conform. This kind of content is harmful because it normalizes women’s suffering. Too often women are made to be the victims of everyone else’s pain. They don’t get to have their own pain or feelings instead they become the punching bag for those around them. This movie brought nothing new, it was just another opportunity to witness women being tortured. With thought and care, this could be remade and likely be a very interesting movie with a unique take on female suffering. However, for the moment, it’s best to just leave it behind.