Reviews: Review of “Don’t worry darling” (“Don’t Worry Darling”), by Olivia Wilde, with Florence Pugh and Harry Styles

After its world premiere at the recent Venice Film Festival and in the midst of accusations and gossip that delighted the tabloid press regarding a chaotic shoot with multiple fights within the crew, the ambitious new film by the director of the night of the nerds.

Do not worry honey (Don’t Worry Darling, United States/2022). Direction: Olivia Wilde. Cast: Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, Olivia Wilde, Gemma Chan, Nick Kroll, Sydney Chandler, Kate Berlant, Asif Ali, Douglas Smith and Timothy Simons. Screenplay: Katie Silberman, Carey Van Dyke, and Shane Van Dyke. Photography: Matthew Libatique. Edition: Affonso Goncalves. Music: John Powell. Production Design: Katie Byron. Distributor: Warner Bros. Duration: 123 minutes. Suitable for over 16 years.

everything in The night of the nerds (Booksmart)Olivia Wilde’s debut feature, was sympathy, self-confidence and fluency becomes pompous, ornate and forced in Do not worry honeya much more pretentious (and failed) production that -precisely because of the multiple achievements of that 2019 debut- turns out to be a deep disappointment.

Do not worry honey was the laughingstock of social networks and portals for reasons other than cinematographic (with its epicenter in the public controversy between Wilde and Shia LaBeouf and the paperwork of the presentation in Venice with the different members fighting with each other), but on an artistic level -beyond its obvious problems – is far from being the paper that many colleagues destroyed with derision in the best of cases and contempt in the worst.

Set in an urbanization built in the middle of the Californian desert in the 1950s, Do not worry honey shows us in the first instance an idyllic community and, in this context, we find the prototype (stereotype) of the happy couple (“they seem to be on a perpetual honeymoon”, they are told) between Jack and Alice Chambers (Harry Styles and Florence Pugh), he an engineer, she a housewife.

The urban project in question is called Victoria and we will soon begin to notice that in the midst of that apparent perfection, routines and securities, impeccable facilities and laughter and cocktails, not all that glitters is gold. The secrets and lies, the manipulations and control, the hypocrisy and double standards, the perversions and the traps will turn the experience into something quite hallucinatory, paranoid and disturbing.

With resources, elements and climates that refer to Color Love (Pleasantville)by Gary Ross; The Perfect Women (The Stepford Wives)by Frank Oz; Matrixof the Wachowski sisters; Flees! (get out)by Jordan Peele; Y The Truman Showby Peter Weir (and we could go on citing dozens of movies and even series like Westworld either Mad Men), with references owellianimages Lynchean and choreographies a-la-Busby Berkeley (“grace in symmetry”, we are insisted), Do not worry honey It turns out to be a film that is too busy, pompous and at times underlined.

Not even a full cast of figures like Florence Pugh (far from the excellence of her best works), Harry Styles (not very subtle), Chris Pine (as the organization’s new age leader), Olivia Wilde herself and Gemma Chan reach to cover up the obvious problems of a film that dazzles visually (Matthew Libatique’s photography and Katie Byron’s production design are prodigious), but in dramatic terms it founders between the coldness, artificiality and obviousness of its proposal.

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