Welcome to Victory…an experimental 1950s town where all the men work at the secret “Victory Project” and all the women stay home to raise their families, cook, clean, shop, and take ballet classes.
Does it sound ideal? No, not really. Something must be up right? Especially with the intense loyalty everyone in town seems to have for Victory CEO Frank (Chris Pine). Of course there’s that suspicious woman (KiKi Layne as Margaret) who knows something sketchy is going on and tries to warn the others. But…of what? It seems like everyone loves it here and must have gone to great lengths to get a piece of land in this secluded desert village. So, put another roast in the oven, have another cocktail and keep a smile on your face. This is paradise.
Young, passionate, child-free couple Alice (Florence Pugh) and Jack (Harry Styles) are having a blast in Victory. They’re just perfect together. Alice eventually notices Margaret and believes her, though it’s hard to get to the bottom of this mysterious town and project when everyone is secluded out in the desert. And it’s even harder to get someone else to believe what you saw when no one else actually saw it. Confusing right? I’d hate to give away any plot points, so basically Alice is absolutely certain this town is a fraud and no one is who they say they are. Everyone just tries to shut her up.
Soon enough (and with still a lot of run time left), we figure out the town’s disturbing secrets. Once you see what’s going on and gasp a few times, you’ll realize it was obvious all along and kick yourself for not figuring it out sooner. There’s a cool high speed card chase that unfolds after, but overall this story is more heartbreaking than empowering for the women of the town like Alice. Still, I dig the psychologic aspect of Don’t Worry Darling; Florence Pugh gives a hell of a performance (perhaps another Oscar-nomination?) as does Harry Styles. They really work well together on screen despite whatever tension is rumored to be going on in real life.
My verdict- see this movie! Really!
Don’t Worry Darling is directed by Olivia Wilde, her second film following 2019’s Booksmart (and a screenplay penned by that movie’s writer Katie Silberman, based on a story along with Carey Van Dyke & Shane Van Dyke). Don’t compare the two, though. Just sit back and watch the madness unfold here. It’s been a while since a movie stuck in my head long after the credits rolled. I can’t stop thinking about Don’t Worry Darling– what if what’s on screen is real life? What would you do if given the same opportunities present to Jack and the neighbors in his cookie cutter development? Would you want such a “perfect” life? What would you sacrifice to have it all?
I look forward to watching this again one day…with a drink in hand and a notepad for some home renovation ideas. The outfits and set designs in Don’t Worry Darling are gorgeous, so I call this movie a win. Ignore the film festival drama and just enjoy this one.