You'd have to have been living under a rock to not have heard about Olivia Wilde's Don't Worry Darling, a film that has been getting copious amounts of publicity, mostly bad; from Wilde receiving divorce papers on stage while showcasing the film at a convention to SpitGate at Venice International Film Festival. Not to mention the rumours of unrest amongst the cast as Shia LaBeouf's departure from the project sparked a game of Chinese Whispers as to what really happened behind the scenes. It's fair to say Don't Worry Darling is one of the most talked about films of the year but is it actually worth all the fuss?

Alice Chambers (Florence Pugh) lives a seemingly idyllic life with her husband, Jack (Harry Styles), and friends in a utopian neighbourhood. The perfect life starts to unravel though for Alice as she starts to question the intentions of Frank (Chris Pine), the owner of a mysterious company to which there's certainly more than meets the eye.
Don't Worry Darling is a film that has a lot going for it; intriguing concept, a director in high demand after her feature debut and a cast led by Florence Pugh, an actress only seeing her stock rise with each and every performance. Ignoring all the outside drama, Wilde's film does a fine job in setting up its integral mystery. There's certainly basic elements to it but that doesn't mean it can't be effective, Katie Silberman's screenplay hardly profound by any means but it keeps you hooked to find out what on earth is happening in this tight-knit community where everyone seems to be worryingly nice to one another. 

The story is where the film is going to make or break itself, the inevitable reveal being the key to holding the film together or falling apart. Sadly, this is where the film lost me as it was something that felt so incredibly rushed that the film comes to such an abrupt end, it never gives the audience a chance to really breathe and take it all in. It's a real shame as the build-up is really well done so sacrificing some of the time spent on that towards the final act may have helped it in some way.
There's an immaculate look to Don't Worry Darling that plays a key part in engrossing the audience in its idyllic setting. Sharp production design, Affonso Gonçalves' editing and Matthew Libatique's cinematography all combining to great effect as Alice has her perfect world turned on its head. The sound design in the film really does help with immersing the audience, particularly in the moments of quick cuts edited together. 

If there's ever a case of an actress running rings around the rest of the cast, it's Florence Pugh in Don't Worry Darling. She's just operating on a whole other level to anyone else here, her ability to switch it up so quickly in terms of emotions working incredibly well as the film progresses. Harry Styles is clearly trying his hand at forging some sort of acting career however, sharing a screen with Pugh for the majority of his scenes does him absolutely no favours, majorly out of his depth when it comes to eliciting emotions. Chris Pine is the pick of the supporting bunch, revelling in his role as the mysterious Frank, particularly in the moments shared with Pugh.

Don't Worry Darling is, for the most part, an engrossing cinematic experience that sucks the audience in. It's such a shame there isn't a decent pay off for the audience who go through that prior experience though, the film's reveal going to be the aspect that makes it such a polarising one. Sadly, I find myself leaning more towards the dislike camp, even if Florence Pugh is as fantastic as ever.

Verdict: ½


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