Editor’s Note: A Daily staffer is affiliated with Warner Bros., but they were not involved in the creation, production or publication of this piece.
Content Warning: This article contains spoilers.
Following a collective viewing of Olivia Wilde’s latest film “Don’t Worry Darling,” the Daily Arts editors share their reactions, observations and critiques in this segment of “Arts Talks.”
There was no Chris Pine penis reveal? Disappointing. Florence Pugh can really act. Harry Styles can really not. Olivia Wilde wanted to make, like, a real movie, you know, but instead made a mid-tier episode of “Black Mirror.” But the music was nice. Very moany. And Jonah from “Veep” was doing his Jonah thing. And there was a stretch where Emilia was laughing at every single line, as Harry Styles tried to gaslight his wife while, inexplicably, washing his hands. There was a scene where he and Chris Pine looked like they were going to kiss, but they didn’t, and Harry Styles danced for a while instead, and it sums up the theme of missed-opportunity-in-exchange-for-Harry-doing-something-unintentionally-funny that runs through the film.
Book Beat Editor Julian Wray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I was excited to see this movie, and I’m willing to admit that it is, in large part, due to the drama surrounding it. But I’m also a fan of psychological thrillers, so it was exciting that a film in this genre was getting this much hype — and disappointing that it so spectacularly failed to live up to said hype. Olivia Wilde’s portrayal of this movie in its promotion implied that it would be feminist, but in execution, the movie just reproduced conditions of oppression for women. The supposed “female pleasure” Wilde promised (“Men don’t come in this film. Only women here!”) was revealed to be a convoluted form of sexual assault (via lack of informed consent). Also, Harry Styles’s tap dancing scene (yes, this is real, and it’s sort of the climax?) made me Upset. This was not at all a comedy, but when we were watching it on the big screen, there was nothing to do except laugh. Thinking about it later, though, it got less funny and ickier. The positive: Florence Pugh rocked my world and gave us an epic “final girl” scene.
Senior Arts Editor Emilia Ferrante can be reached at email@example.com.
Never a time that I don’t love a dystopian dream ballet. Also, shout out to Jaime Leigh McIntosh for how she turned a pop star into an incel with a wig.
Campus Culture Beat Editor Matthew Eggers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All I can say about “Don’t Worry Darling” is that it’s one of the films of 2022, made by filmmakers who definitely exist, with a score and some cinematography, too. On a surface level, I enjoyed the experience of watching the film — probably because I was in the company of several editors, and it was past 10 p.m. and we were all in a state of moderate delirium from waiting two hours for Joe’s Pizza. We did have some laughs, though. I now understand why Harry Styles kept his mouth shut for all of “Dunkirk,” because in the company of Florence Pugh, his acting really did remind me of a company training video I might’ve watched at the retail job I worked in high school. If I were Styles, I’d be worried (darling) about finding another role. It’s bad — not in a “The Room” way, or a “Morbius” way — but in a boring way. “Don’t Worry Darling” suffers from Chronic Mid Syndrome. It’s so much nothing that it stirs no emotions in me, no reactions, either good or bad.
Digital Culture Beat Editor Laine Brotherton can be reached at email@example.com.
One word to describe “Don’t Worry Darling”? Disappointment. This movie had the potential to be so good, and it missed the mark every time. Now look, I shouldn’t really be qualified to write film reviews because I’ll call even the worst movie ‘good’ if it kept me entertained. But I was more entertained by the fact that everyone in my theater was giggling when we definitely weren’t supposed to be. The movie gave off a ‘pro-patriarchy’ vibe, which is ironic considering how much Olivia Wilde emphasized that the project was about the feminine experience, so that was icky. Harry Styles is very pretty and I love him very much, but babe, you’ve got nothing going on behind those eyes. Florence Pugh, Chris Pine and Gemma Chan all shined (although I would’ve loved the latter two to have been developed more). Overall I’d say it was more problematic than bad, but honestly? I kinda want to go see it again.
Senior Arts Editor Hannah Carapellotti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I did enjoy watching this movie. I didn’t fall asleep, which means it wasn’t as boring as “Dune” or the intentionally unenjoyable films we watched in my film theory class. That said, thinking about the movie itself afterward is like trying to understand a simulation. Every scene I considered revealed cracks in the plot or loose ends. Why are there dancers? Why do they sometimes look terrifying and other times not? The walls close in for what? Why is Harry so upset that Florence is going to go get her brain shocked back into ignorance if he knows she’ll just come back home? What’s annoying is that almost any random detail Olivia Wilde wanted to include to make the film longer, more visually interesting or more expensive can be explained away by the cop-out plot twist. I wasn’t bored, but “entertaining” is a low bar to scale for entertainment. And the ending was so abrupt I thought they must have run out of footage and convinced themselves this was somehow okay. When the credits rolled, I genuinely believed for several seconds that it was a joke and we were going to cut back to a final scene. And there was simply no reason for Florence Pugh to start crushing those eggs.
Senior Arts Editor Erin Evans can be reached at email@example.com.
Yeah, this movie was wack, and not in an “Inception” kind of way, but in a “this doesn’t really make sense” way. There were so many shots of eyeballs and dancing ladies. Like maybe 10 times throughout the entire film. I’m still unsure what the significance of it was! I felt very beaten over the head with symbolism. Harry Styles messed up a British accent? And also did a little tap dancing routine? We had some #editorlaughs in the theaters, but honestly, I kept waiting for it to be over.
Music Beat Editor Nora Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deep in the trenches of Row H, Theater 18 of the Cinemark Ann Arbor 20 Movie Theater, lies a piece of myself I will never get back. A piece of myself still waiting for a payoff that never comes. Despite taking the time to build suspense and unease, the rising arc is just an extended trailer for the movie, until suddenly Alice, the protagonist, has everything figured out in one of the most unrewarding climactic scenes I have seen in some time. She must have been moonlighting as a detective with the amount of information she put together outside of when the audience sees her. There has to be some universe out there with a version of this movie where we see what Alice was doing when she wasn’t being trapped by walls, and god, I wish I was there. By the end, the scene where Harry Styles’s character tap dances for several minutes while Florence Pugh’s character has a breakdown in the bathroom was exactly what my brain was doing. At the very least, I had fun laughing at Harry Styles yelling in his half-British-half-American accent with my friends. And isn’t that what cinema is all about? (Don’t answer that.)
Senior Arts Editor Sarah Rahman can be reached at email@example.com.
Listen. It’s not technically a bad movie. And I’m not technically an editor. But I have to second Hannah, it’s bad only in the sense that it’s disappointing. The production? Impeccable. The costumes, sets, music? Fantastic. The acting (besides Harry Styles, who wasn’t bad but spent most of his screen time looking like he was trying to remember his next line)? As good as I expected it to be. There were several narrative choices I just didn’t agree with — the plane that never gets explained, Chris Pine watching Florence Pugh and Harry Styles have sex for no reason, Olivia Wilde’s only motivation for being in the Victory Project being to see her kids but then treating them terribly, to name a few. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the final Victory Project twist. In an effort to be vague and not too spoiler-y, let me just say that, from a narrative perspective, I am so catastrophically angry over what the Victory Project is and how it works. In 10 years I’m going to do what Olivia Wilde did to the Van Dykes and rewrite this movie. All in all, I wouldn’t call “Don’t Worry Darling” a total failure, I just spent the entire movie thinking about all the ways it could have been a success. Like keeping Shia LeBeouf in the cast. God, he would have been terrifying — and he would have sold that tap dancing scene.
Daily Arts Writer Maddie Agne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I can’t remember the last time I counted down the days until a movie premiere. When the trailer first aired, I was immediately infatuated by the relationship between the two stars. I mean, come on, Florence Pugh and Harry Styles in the same film? But I must admit, decades spent as a One Directioner have conditioned me to ignore the band members’ flaws. No, I wasn’t on Twitter defending the acting skills of Styles (especially not after that one clip… you know which one I’m referring to), but I remained intrigued by his role and spent the summer anticipating his performance. When the fated day arrived, I was ecstatic. This was either going to be the worst film I have ever seen or the absolute best. We walked into Cinemark. We sat down. We watched. Florence, I want to clarify that the following sentence does not apply to you: What the actual sicko hell.
Managing Arts Editor Lillian Pearce can be reached at email@example.com.