....because my husband and I left the screening after an hour of tedium. He suggested I title this non-review, Worry Darling, but I responded that this would imply a level of engagement and giving a shit that simply wasn't earned.
To be clear, I came into the screening without prejudice, and with some hope of a good time given how much I liked director Olivia Wilde's debut feature, BOOKSMART. But as the soon as the movie began there was an eery feeling of being trapped in a mash-up of all the fake-world dystopian greatest hits, with all of the style and little to actually say that was new and of note. A cursory googling of the remainder of the plot reveals that my husband and I had predicted the plot twist and inevitable ending.
I do rather wonder how this movie was greenlit. In a world where STEPFORD WIVES is so commonplace a concept in popular culture - where we've all watched Westworld and Good Life - where we've all seen THE VILLAGE - did anyone stop to ask if Wilde had anything new to say on the subject of men trying to control women in a fake 1950s world?
Even the look of the film is derivative. There's nothing in the way the characters are dressed that costume designer Janie Bryant didn't do better in Mad Men. And as for Wilde's choice of framing and camera shots, this all felt overly stylised but not to a constant theme - as if she were throwing together every outlandish idea without a real directorial vision of what she was trying to achieve. Worst of all there was no slow build of tension and unease, as in Jordan Peele's superb GET OUT. For a film that wants us to hate a misogynistic husband for telling his horrified wife to stop being hysterical, this movie is hysterical from about 7 minutes in.
In front of the lens, Florence Pugh is a rare talent and carries this film such as we saw it. Harry Styles is basically Harry Styles as her husband. One wonders if they wrote in that he was British because he couldn't be arsed - or simply - literally - just didn't have the acting talent - to do an American accent. The only performance that felt raw and moving was that of Kiki Lane as the profoundly and rightly disturbed Margaret, but we saw precious little of her, as reported on her social media.
DON'T WORRY DARLING is rated R and has a running time of 123 minutes. The film played Venice 2022 and is on release in cinemas.
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