Don’t Worry Darling is unintentionally hilarious.
When Harry Styles tries and fails to act his heart out, it’s hard not to laugh. In one scene, Styles’ character, Jack Chambers, has a meltdown. That’s supposed to be one of the film’s tensest moments, but everyone in the theater with me laughed; it was the first time I understood the power of a packed theater. It’s one of those obviously over-acted scenes you’d find in a TikTok compilation of “best acting scenes” where it just turns out to be a bunch of white actors yelling at the camera.
Olivia Wilde’s second feature film, Don’t Worry Darling, set in California in the ’50s, feels like a reimagined version of the “questioning reality” narrative, sprinkled with psychological thriller elements. Florence Pugh’s character, Alice, sticks her nose in places where it doesn’t belong, prying into her husband’s activities and the secretive company he works for—leading her to question the world around her. The film draws inspiration from movies like The Matrix, Black Swan, and The Truman Show. In one ballet scene, as seen in the trailer, Alice doesn’t see her reflection in the mirror but rather someone smashing their head into the glass. This scene feels directly out of Black Swan, likely because cinematographer Matthew Libatique worked on both movies.
Beyond the vaguely tired plot, it’s hard to take Don’t Worry Darling seriously because it’s been trending for the past few months for all the wrong reasons. The laundry list of behind-the-scenes drama ranges from Wilde separating from 7-year-fiancée Jason Sudeikis and beginning to date Harry Styles during production, to a video that surfaced appearing to show Styles spitting on co-star Chris Pine.
Another reason the audience couldn’t stop guffawing is that Styles’ painfully British accent feels so out of place. When he pronounced scenario as “sce-NAUR-io”, the entire theater burst into laughter. A brief explanation for Jack Chambers’ British accent is given in the film, but this feels less like a plot device and more like Wilde letting Styles get away with bad acting. Pugh is also British, yet her American accent is impeccable. So is it too much to expect Harry Styles to try to put one on? Well, probably. He can’t act that well, but it’s okay; not every artist-actor will turn out to be like Donald Glover.
I don’t actually hate Don’t Worry Darling. Its set design and cinematography perfectly capture the aesthetic of mid-20th century America. The vintage cars immerse the viewer in ’50s suburbia. The characters are well dressed—the men donning era-appropriate business attire, complimented by their wives’ eye-catching, colorful, and creative wardrobes. The film’s shots are beautifully composed, each filled with a vibrancy that keeps your eyes glued to the screen. Not only is the film beautiful, but Pugh is the movie’s shining light. She solidifies her position as one of Hollywood’s most talented young actors by giving a fantastic performance that puts Styles’ flimsy effort to shame.
Don’t Worry Darling isn’t remarkably creative, nor does it have a complex or original plot. But still, it’s a good movie to see with friends. You get a familiar narrative, amazing acting from Florence Pugh, and an aesthetic-looking film. It’s worth the watch; go decide for yourself whether the pre-release drama was worth it. Even if you don’t like it, you’ll get to experience how watching movies in theaters enhances the viewing experience. Plus, you’ll be able to laugh as one of the world’s most famous pop stars embarrasses himself on the big screen.