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‘Don’t Worry Darling’ is successful in aesthetics, lacking in dialogue

Originally Published on September 30, 2022

Florence Pugh and Harry Styles give impressive performances as the lead characters in “Don’t Worry Darling.” (Photo courtesy of IMDb)

Often, people tell me that they choose films based on their ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, which is a real shame because they often miss out on those more interesting films that try to do things differently. For instance, the recently released “Don’t Worry Darling” has received below-average ratings, but I think it’s a pretty good film. If a few flaws had been addressed, it could actually have been excellent.

The movie tells the story of Jack (Harry Styles) and Alice (Florence Pugh) living in an idealized suburban community called Victory where the men work on a classified project while the women are forced to stay at home. While the women in the town live comfortably under the premise that their husbands are working diligently to protect them, Alice begins to suspect that their place in the world is part of a more sinister agenda.

What stands out about the film is its distinctive look. Several moments make great use of coordinated movements to create disturbing symmetries on the screen. For instance, there are dance sequences during which women follow the same set of movements and create hypnotic shapes. These moments provide visual manifestations of conformity and represent the restrictive definitions of gender in society.

There’s also repetitive editing that draws further attention to this theme of control over the lives of women. At times, watching the film is comparable to holding your eyes on a perfectly airbrushed picture, one that is so flawless it becomes uncomfortable to look at. Given the dystopian context, that aesthetic style lends itself well to the story.

I also feel the performances were surprisingly impressive. Leading lady Pugh takes on a demanding role here, and I believe that she succeeds in making viewers believe the main character’s bizarre and restrictive circumstances.

Styles also provides a well-balanced and strong performance as the secretive husband. He’s downplayed and mysterious in a way that works to the film’s advantage. Obviously, he’s the film’s box office draw, but he doesn’t take over the film and that’s a good thing.

The film falls short in two areas: its dialogue and its ending. The film’s characters explain things too much and there’s a lot of arguing that stagnates the story rather than builds intrigue.

This leads to my second point about the film’s ending: I feel it should have ended about 20 minutes earlier. There’s an impactful reveal and twist that deserved further emphasis and the climactic chase sequence wasn’t as exciting as that moment.

As a whole, the film works, and I feel that it offers a slightly new lens on feminist storylines through the dystopian setting and unexpected narrative twists. So, I do recommend it.


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