In college I was privileged enough to take a David Lynch film class where each week we studied one of his productions, and immediately while watching Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling, I noticed some similarities with the film’s strangely metaphoric visuals—which might even be somewhat of an ode to the noted director. Along with the cinematographic aspect, I saw many other underlying themes of power, control, pleasure, gas lighting, what the “ideal” life is, what is considered being the “best”, and what makes our day-to-day reality; is our only real assurance in life sometimes just a kiss from our significant other telling us it is all going to be OK?
While we live in a world where experience shapes everything we know, it is sometimes crazy to think about the meta “truth”; it is only through each person’s own vision of their life, with all that has happened up until this very moment, do they have their outlook. Sure, people might alter their state of mind a bit, but this movie completely messes with what you see as reality vs dream; I might even have to go see it a second time just to grasp all of the tiny details.
The cast is nothing short of terrific with Florence Pugh (Alice) starring alongside Harry Styles (Jack) as her husband, Chris Pine as Frank aka the president of the mysterious company Victory Headquarters, where he and all of the husbands in the town just so happen work, Wilde as the next-door-neighbor Bunny, and we even get to see Dita Von Teese sitting inside of a champagne glass at one point (which was my favorite thing ever). Nick Kroll and Timothy Simons also make an appearance with some new-to-me faces I enjoyed a lot including Gemma Chan as Frank’s wife Shelley and Kate Berlant as one of the other wives, Peg.
The setting gives off a very Stepford Wives vibe in a small town in the middle of the desert, but is unclear what era it is, despite the women staying at home cleaning all day anxiously waiting for their husbands to get home as if it were the 1950s. But something just is not right; there is almost a “glitch” the audience gets from the world the characters are living in. Once you finally catch on and realize what is actually happening, you will be intrigued to find out how this ends.
There are so many things to say about this movie that I could go on and on and on, from the perfectly staged ideal “life” all the way to the incredibly well-shot desert scenes (there’s even a high-speed car chase!). I live for a complex layered story with crazy visuals that make you jump and wonder what will happen next. The best part for me was while there is nothing really predictable about Don’t Worry Darling, there is seemingly lots of inspiration from other cult classic directors intertwined which I thought was amazingly done. I’m excited to see what Wilde does next, and really do recommend to see this at the theater if you are looking for a couple hours of excitement with a touch of weirdness on the big screen.