Olivia Wilde’s controversial Don’t Worry Darling finally hits screens – and the verdict is in

Florence Pugh and Harry Styles in Don't Worry Darling. (New Line Cinema)

After months of behind-the-scenes controversy, Florence Pugh and Harry Styles’ new film Don’t Worry Darling finally opened, to mixed reviews. 

The psychological drama, directed by Olivia Wilde, consistently made headlines during its production, with rumours of a feud between Wilde and Pugh. 
However, as the film finally rolled out across cinemas on Friday (23 September), it debuted at US number one making a solid $30 million across the North American and international box office.

The film follows Alice (Pugh) and Jack (Styles) who are living in an idyllic experimental desert town called Victory, run by husband and wife, Shelley (Gemma Chan) and Frank (Chris Pine). 

Alice is friends with the other wives in the town such as Bunny (Olivia Wilde) and Margaret (Kiki Layne), but when Margaret disappears Alice suddenly begins to question her reality. 

What follows is a psychologically bizarre and twisted tale in pursuit of the truth, which tackles the oppression of women through psychiatry, gender roles and patriarchy. 

From whether Styles met the calibre of the rest of the cast, to if Don’t Worry Darling hits the same acclaim as Wilde’s 2019 film Booksmart – here’s people’s thoughts across the board. 

The Hollywood Reporter wrote: “The high-concept, low-satisfaction psychological thriller marks an ambitious upgrade in scope for Wilde.

“She handles the physical aspects of the project with assurance. It’s just a shame all the effort has gone into a script without much of that 2019 debut’s disarming freshness.”

Criticism the movie fell short of fully justifying the plot arc, was a regular occurrence, with The Guardian adding: “The problem is that Wilde leans too heavily on surface and style, as a distraction from the fact that the story itself is riddled with inconsistencies and barely holds together.”

Variety’s review backed these up, saying: “Don’t Worry Darling should have no trouble finding an audience. But the movie takes you on a ride that gets progressively less scintillating as it goes along.”

Some people on social media agreed with the criticism, with one person writing: “Don’t Worry Darling is definitely a movie that makes me think… of all the ways it could be better! The potential is there, it just wasn’t executed properly.”

@kailikesmovies

Florence Pugh >>> #fyp #filmtok #dontworrydarling #review #florencepugh #harrystyles ♬ With You All the Time (from “Don’t Worry Darling”) – Alice and Jack

@_sandradenise

I also went into the theater with my expectations on the floor so I was pleasantly surprised and maybe that’s why I love it so much lol dondontworrydarlingddwdoflorencepughrharrystylesndontworrydarlingmovieddwdharryndontworrydarlingharrystylesndontworrydarlingflorencepugho#florencepughsupremacy

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♬ original sound – Harry’s housewife ?

However, many rallied against the critical opinions, with another saying: “Don’t Worry Darling is really fun and clever and entertaining and TOTALLY worth a trip to the movies. 

“Olivia Wilde crushed it. As did the amazing cast. Sexism is alive and real. Don’t believe the bulls**t. Go support women filmmakers.”

@hugeasmammoth.films

in no mood to argue, if you hated it, good for you. If you loved it, good for you. This is just my opinion. #dontworrydarling #florencepugh #harrystyles #greenscreen ♬ original sound – Nirupam

Meanwhile, when it came to the cast, there were mixed reviews on whether Styles managed to thrive in his role.

The Evening Standard bucked the trend of criticism and said: “The movie as a whole works because Styles, at every stage of the game, is able to keep up. 

“By taking the part of Jack, Styles is complicating his own dreamboat public image. Seriously, he’s deconstructing Harry.”

While the New Yorker added: “Styles shines in the movie’s few and brief musical and choreographic moments, delivers dialogue smoothly, and bears himself with a seductive glide.”

However, on Twitter and TikTok people shared their disappointment at Styles’ acting, claiming people would even laugh in the cinema when his scenes come up. 

Putting Florence Pugh and Harry Styles in the same movie was a mistake because her acting literally runs circles around him in every scene,” one person wrote.

While one TikTok reviewer summed it up, saying: “He is fine, he doesn’t particularly stand out in any good or bad way.”

Beyond Styles and Wilde, people were raving about the stand out performances from Pine and Pugh, and claimed Pugh was a “tour de force” in the film. 

As put by Insider: “Pugh is fantastic; she can go from a state of erotic bliss to completely petrified at the snap of a finger. 

“The movie is very much an exploration of women navigating a man’s world and Pugh is fascinating to watch as the leader of a revolt against that power struggle.”

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Florence Pugh is a goddamn movie star. The talent, the charisma, the screen presence, the total control of her craft. Watch Don’t Worry Darling for her performance,” one Twitter user wrote

So the verdict? Definitely a mixed bag, with some going along for the ride while others found it difficult to get past the inconsistent plot and acting. 

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