Don’t Worry Darling has dominated the headlines like no other movie this year. And while we admit we’re a little tired of hearing update after update regarding the on-set romances, film-festival conspiracy theories, and rumored feuds, now that it’s finally out in the world, the Cut staff had to take a look at it for ourselves in order to figure out if the lore preluding it would indeed eclipse the actual plot of the film.
The movie follows Alice (Florence Pugh), a perfect housewife living a perfect 1950s life with her perfect British husband, Jack (Harry Styles), in a suburb that looks a lot like Palm Springs but is referred to as Victory Project. She begins to question what exactly it is that the handsome husbands of Victory do when they go off to work on their top-secret project all day, helmed by Frank (Chris Pine), whose cult-leader energy is both sexy and scary. There’s a lot going on in this one, and while it does have sumptuous costumes and set design, and a couple truly stellar performances, the plot doesn’t make make that much sense all of the time. In other words, yes, this movie is as confusing as everyone has said it would be, but we still had fun.
Below, (almost) every thought and question the Cut staff had while watching Don’t Worry Darling. (Spoilers ahead).
Olivia Truffaut-Wong, blogger: May I be the first to say … gowns, beautiful gowns. The costume design, production design, everything was gorgeous.
Brooke Marine, deputy culture editor: I agree, Arianne Phillips did a phenomenal job. It was immersive! I felt like I was wrapped in the fabrics … just like how Florence Pugh wrapped her face in plastic in that one scene.
Danielle Cohen, blogger: My boyfriend described the movie as “a Black Mirror episode that was very long,” which feels accurate to me.
Danya Issawi, fashion news writer: It was like watching a Slim Aarons photograph come to life.
Olivia: I wish the movie had started in the middle and gone half an hour past the ending.
Danielle: Or had a more interesting ending.
Matthew Schneier, features writer: I actually liked the question ending! I feel like an extra half hour of trauma counseling and bruised hope would be very Law & Order.
Andrea González-Ramírez, senior writer: I had way too many questions at the end and I wanted — needed — to see more!
Brooke: The beginning was great. Harry Styles and Nick Kroll got to share a little kiss … I thought that was beautiful.
Danya: Now I understand why they smooched in Venice.
Olivia: Also, Olivia Wilde is very charming. As is Harry! I feel like he excelled when he was just playing charming.
Matthew: One of my main takeaways was: Olivia Wilde, very compelling actress!
Jen Ortiz, deputy editor: The world looked gorgeous, like a big bowl of candy.
Danielle: It made me want to drink scotch.
Jen: I drank a Manhattan after.
Danya: It made me want to tease my hair …
Brooke: Okay, wig.
Olivia: I kept wondering what Shia LaBeouf would have been like in Harry’s role.
Danya: I think he would’ve been more sinister.
Andrea: I personally would have hated it!
Danielle: Since the character was in charming mode for so long, Harry worked. I think.
Olivia: This convinced me that Harry would be a great supporting actor. Great hair, very charming, I loved when he was trying to cook dinner.
Jen: To be fair, if there hadn’t been bad reviews of Harry beforehand, I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about it.
Andrea: I personally liked Harry; he is lacking range for the latter part, but he was serviceable and charming.
Matthew: I thought Harry was better than most musicians making the movie pivot! Charismatic, very comfortable with line readings as long as they’re not too dramatic.
Jen Ortiz: So is Olivia! I want to be her best friend when she’s on screen.
Matthew: I almost think it wasn’t really his fault that he couldn’t get to the depths when all the script gave him for gravitas was screaming “FUCK!”
Brooke: I couldn’t pick up on chemistry between him and Florence, who mopped the floor with him, acting-wise.
Jen Ortiz: Miss Flo is magic.
Olivia: Miss Flo is excellent!
Danya: Can we talk about Harry’s tap-dancing scene? What the fuck was going on?
Jen: The tap-dancing scene is part of the plot-hole problem.
Matthew: Tap dancing prioritizes metaphor over plot, very Film 101 student. I mean it! It echoes Flo dancing in the real world at the end — the dance of the empowered; Harry only gets it in Simworld. But doing a crazed tap dance for all his bros makes absolutely no narrative sense.
Jen: This chat is chaos, much like the plot.
Olivia: It’s tough to talk about this movie in order because the twist colors everything that came before and makes it … messier.
Andrea: I’m glad Olivia played Bunny instead of the lead (which is how she pitched it originally when trying to sell it). I think it works better with Flo and Harry being younger.
Brooke: I agree, she was right to step in for that supporting role. Florence would’ve stolen the show anyway, just like she did in Little Women.
Jen: That beginning montage made me think, What a nice life! I love cleaning my bathroom, I love cooking, I love having no thoughts. Sign me up.
Danielle: Lobotomy chic!
Olivia: Maybe I’m telling on myself, but who deep cleans their entire house every day?
Brooke: “No thoughts, head empty” is this movie’s logline.
Andrea: The drunk-driving-and-doing-donuts-in-the-car scene stressed me out, which is how I know I’m getting old.
Olivia: I guess that was to establish that Alice (Florence Pugh) knew how to drive when all the other women weren’t allowed?
Jen: The boozy party scene is how all dinner parties should go, minus the pregnant drunk woman.
Danielle: Kate Berlant was, like, my second favorite actor in this whole movie.
Brooke: She slayed! Love that for her.
Danya: She ate.
Jen: She was a dream.
Matthew: Kate GOAT. Felt like she was in the comedy version of this movie.
Danya: I saw a tweet that was like, “None of these actors were in the same movie, and I love that.”
Matthew: I almost felt like she was a robot wife made to keep the real wives in line. Instead of being a “tamed” woman.
Jen: I didn’t think of them as robots in the beginning. I assumed they were brainwashed, in a cult.
Brooke: Bunny (Olivia Wilde) opting to stay in the simulation was a nice twist to the character and actually made sense. Sorry to take it here, but a lot of people online are talking about how the sex in this movie was not consensual, since most of the women were presumably drugged into submission and trapped in this simulated mid-century world. But the movie is kind of being marketed as this “female-sexual-pleasure empowerment” moment.
Andrea: That made me feel sick.
Jen: Wait, are all of the women real?
Olivia: I think they wanted to establish the main couple as real and passionate in the real world.
Brooke: Yes, they’re real, and trapped by red-pilled incels. I assume Harry’s character hit Flo over the head or drugged her into a comalike state so that he could keep her in the simulation.
Andrea: It’s like a fucked-up Meta VR universe.
Olivia: The sex was supposed to show that he does care about her pleasure and wants that life with her, but it needed a few more scenes to really make that point.
Brooke: Can you imagine hearing the words “Harry Styles plays an incel” plays years ago?
Matthew: One of the plot holes I didn’t really get is what Chris Pine’s character does in the real world? And are they all actually working for him?
Brooke: He’s a podcaster.
Olivia: I also wondered what they did in the real world when they left the metaverse, other than like, making sure the bodies of their wives didn’t atrophy.
Danya: I wanted to know what Chris Pine’s character was like IRL.
Andrea: I do feel like he’d look very Richard Spencer–ish suave.
Matthew: So all these men work for Joe Rogan, Inc.? And then clock out and go to The Sims to be with their tradwives?
Jen: This whole thing seemed very expensive, and Harry was unemployed and couldn’t even make himself dinner.
Matthew: Why on earth does a plane crash right where they transport back to the real world!!
Danielle: I may have truly missed some dialogue because the laughter at incel Harry in my theater was so loud.
Andrea: Kiki Layne’s kid was also dragging a plane.
Matthew: If all the men only work in the real world, then who is flying a plane badly, and why? And if it’s just programming, why would you program a literal flaming arrow pointing at the one thing the women aren’t supposed to see?
Jen: How did they keep the women’s bodies alive?
Olivia: Compression suits and water drips.
Danya: Also, why do their eyes have to be open … like, who is keeping them lubricated?
Brooke: A Clockwork Orange–ass device.
Olivia: What is the shock therapy in the simulation? Is that just the physical feeling of being shocked? I saw an article saying it was real, but then, are they all in some kind of compound?
Danielle: I think Jonah from Veep goes to their house or maybe they move her body to “fix” her.
Matthew: I assumed real-world Flo was trapped in their apartment, but I don’t know. I guess it would be a kind of obvious place to look for her if she didn’t show up to surgery.
Jen: Where is her friend? Her family? Her boss?
Matthew: Paging Dr. Flo.
Olivia: She’s going to call Olivia Benson!
Andrea: There are too many questions the film doesn’t answer! And not in like a fun “Did the thing keep spinning at the end of Inception?” way.
Olivia: The film brings up interesting themes like incels. But because of the plot holes, it fails to really see those through, and that’s a shame.
Brooke: Wait, can we also talk about how another couple met on this set? Kiki Layne and Ari’el Stachel, who play a married couple in the film and apparently were in a lot of scenes that ended up on the cutting-room floor. But she got a man and a check out of it all, and he seems obsessed with her so, okay!
Olivia: We love you, Kiki. I know most of her scenes were cut, but she was great and was able to show more range here.
Jen: It doesn’t make sense to me (again) how if you die in the game, you die in real life.
Brooke: The logistics of the world this movie built don’t really make any sense, ultimately.
Olivia: I think if you want to leave the simulation, they kill you.
Danielle: I think Kiki’s character is dead, so is Chris Pine. And Gemma Chan took over.
Olivia: Gemma Chan got so cheated!
Andrea: It’s criminal how underused she was.
Matthew: I thought Gemma Chan got a juicy attempt at a Best Supporting Actress monologue and that’s fine!
Olivia: One thing that really bothers me is that making Gemma Chan complicit opens up a whole dialogue about Asians buying into the model-minority myth and trying to aspire to whiteness. But this film is not interested in going there.
Brooke: Also, the original screenplay’s ending, written by Dick Van Dyke’s grandsons, is different. Long story short, Alice finds an exit portal in a house for sale on the block, goes into it and comes out in 2050, finds out she’s been living in a simulation called “Alt-life” and has filed for divorce from Jack.
Andrea: Dear Lord.
Matthew: Seems extraneous to me! We all basically got that without all of that rigamarole.
Brooke: But wait, there’s more! She goes back into the simulation, confronts her husband and threatens to shove a broom inside of him until he relents, then she goes back to 2050 where he follows her and she stabs him in self defense.
Matthew: He survives and goes on to found One Direction. Finally, he finds the community he was looking for.
Jen: It ends with everyone yelling “the aristocrats” in unison.
Danielle: Wait, what happens next! I’m hooked.
Brooke: Alice wakes up in 1950, the hospital tells her she killed her husband and is delusional because she was yelling about a future where women are empowered. Then Bunny comes to visit her at the institution, and whispers that there’s another exit portal, which Alice walks toward to go back to 2050, I guess.
Matthew: My main takeaway on this movie is it’s doing Too Much. And I apparently only saw the 50 percent version!
Brooke: This movie is definitely doing Too Much, yet I do think it has cult-classic energy. I had fun with it. Style over substance …
Jen: I would watch a four-hour Zack Snyder–cut version of this.
Matthew: I still enjoyed it! And I think if it wasn’t by an O.C. actress named Olivia Wilde who ran away with a pop star and all the rest, we would all be like, Fun! B/B+.
Andrea: Mid is fine and can be thoroughly enjoyed! Not everything has to be award worthy.
Jen: It was fine, better with a cocktail, best to not ever think about it again.
Danielle: I felt set up for a sequel with Gemma Chan.
Danya: I would watch a sequel where the women revolt and try and overhaul the men to escape. It was joyful to watch with a theater of mostly women giggling together.
Olivia: I really hope all this drama doesn’t keep Olivia Wilde from making more films. Chris Pine should play more handsome creeps.
Brooke: If one thing can be said about this movie, it’s that it was definitely a movie.