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  • courtneyward09

Don't Worry Darling

So, I liked it? Generally speaking, of course. There were definitely some clunky moments that made me go 'huh?' But overall, I thought it was a good film. I felt satisfied at the end.

Now I will say, I’m not well versed in psychological thrillers, so my perception of the film could be based on my ignorance of the genre. Also, it’s highly possible that I went into it with low expectations. I was excited to see it because I had been anticipating the film ever since the first trailers dropped, but the never-ending drama articles surrounding the making of the film put a damper on what was going to be seen on screen.

So, when I finally got the chance to watch, I was pleasantly surprised by it. I actually watched it twice. After the twist in the third act was revealed, I wanted to see it again with the knowledge of knowing that Victory is a giant simulation and all the people – well, men – in it are manipulative players. The rewatch helped clarify some of the questions that formed during my first viewing.

Did I think it was perfect or the best film I’ve ever seen? No, but I do think some reviews completely blasting the film were overblown.

I do agree with the critiques surrounding the sex scenes. DWD was billed as a psychological thriller, but there was also a lot of press leading up to its release about sex and pleasure for 1950s couples. That’s all well and good. I don’t think anyone has an issue with that, but the scene with Jack and Alice on the dining room table felt exploitative. It was misplaced and came out of seemingly nowhere. It didn’t push the storyline forward and felt like it was only there because the director insisted it not be eliminated from the final cut. I understand we’re supposed to view Jack and Alice as a young and carefree couple, but that was established in the opening scenes. In the beginning, we don’t know Jack is a lying scumbag, and they come across as a happy couple, who genuinely love and care for one another. I don’t think we needed to see them destroying dinner and breaking plates to understand that about them.

And the scene when Jack was inexplicably trying on Frank’s ties. You’re at the boss’s house, in his bedroom, and surrounded by all your coworkers. To each their own, but at least this scene helped establish Frank as a disturbed man with ulterior motives. He’s not the genius everyone wants you to believe.

Another poor plot point for me was Alice walking through the desert because she thinks she saw a plane crash. Seriously? Even if you look past the fact that no one is allowed at headquarters, who in their right mind would just wander off into the desert alone. I know Victory is supposed to be some kind of utopia, but they don’t have emergency services? No fire department? Police? Ambulance? Is it just the lonely Dr. Collins? The Victory Project is supposed to be a top-secret mission. Surely, there could be injuries on the job.

Realistically, Alice should have asked the trolley driver to take her back to town so she could alert someone. But nope. Homegirl walked through the entire desert, in the blazing heat, all the way up a dirt hill to “help.” Even if there was a plane crash, what was she going to do when she got there? Magically remember she used to be a surgeon? And don’t get me started on how this just so happened to be the one time she was wearing flats. None of it makes sense. I don’t care how rough your morning had been. No one would do this.

Another poor plot point: How is there no security surrounding headquarters. It’s imperative to their whole scheme that the women never go there. And now it’s happened twice. How was Alice able to walk through the entire desert and get all the way to headquarters without a single person seeing her and stopping her? They had surveillance in the 50s. Maybe they did see her and wanted to find out what would happen. Frank later admits he’s fascinated by Alice and wants her to push him. But these manipulative mind games are what ultimately lead to their demise.

Other observations:

· Was it just me or were Bunny and Dean an odd looking couple. Something about their dynamic was off. Logically, I knew they were married, but there was still some sort of disconnect there. I can’t quite put my finger on it. They were clearly all-in with the way they revered Frank like he was the second coming. Dean, especially, but I guess since they both willingly chose Victory, it was a success for them.

· What happened to Bunny’s kids?

· What were the earthquakes? It was a regular occurrence, but it’s never explained.

· Hair, wardrobe, styling, the set was all on point

· Florence Pugh is insanely gorgeous

· Yes, she carried the film

· Harry Styles is not a bad actor. I thought he did a great job.

Now, the Victory Project. I did not see the plot twist coming at the end. Again, this may be because of my lack of knowledge of psychological thrillers, but I was genuinely shocked when Alice walked out of an operating room. Victory is a giant simulation built on the backs of insecure, moronic, psychotic men. That's a whole thesis in and of itself, but once you know the truth, it's sick to look at the lives they all live.

It's seemingly perfection, but these women (minus Bunny) are prisoners. They have been kidnapped and all the men in this world know it, and they’re all okay with it. They live like this is normal. How sick do you have to be to think this is the answer to all your problems? And when Jack was trying to explain why he trapped Alice in this world, his answer absolutely killed me. He said he wanted to make her happy; that she was happy in Victory; and he had to work a job he hated to afford Victory. What an idiot. Getting a job is what he should have done before, so that Alice wouldn't have been working so many shifts to carry them both. That’s what made her miserable. She was happy before you became a complete bum who didn’t contribute anything to the relationship other than complaints.

The men of Victory are grossly insecure. The women don’t get a choice, but they can choose exactly who they want to be. Jack chose to be British. (My guess is so that Harry Styles wouldn't have to fake an American accent throughout the film. And it was balanced with the fact that Gemma Chan is also British). And, hilariously, if you pause the screen on his profile, his "appearance enhancement” is turned on. Also, he chose Alice because they had a pre-existing relationship. What about the other women? Were some of them literally just snatched off the street and held captive?

In the end, Alice proves to be stronger, smarter and more capable than the so-called men who were in charge. That’s why they had to gaslight her (and Margaret) into thinking they were going crazy. And when they didn’t fall for it, the only solution was to try to numb them into submission with shock therapy or pills. (Sidenote: If Alice hadn’t broken free, I think the one to do it would have been Violet. Her deer in the headlights look is clearly an indication that she knows something isn't right. She's not just being shy. There's something in her gut telling her Victory is not where it's at.)

So, what could possibly be next for Victory? Alice walking out of the house covered in blood surely led to the other women asking questions. The men freaking out and exclaiming “They said nothing like this would happen!” I’m sure doesn’t help. And then there’s the fact that Shelley kills Frank. “You stupid, stupid man.” That’s putting it mildly. But also proves she was part of the whole plot as well. I’m sure she has a plan to cover up any traces of Victory in the real world, including getting rid of Frank’s real body.

I find it hard to believe that no one reported Alice missing or asked the police to conduct a welfare check. She was a surgeon for crying out loud. There were plenty of people who relied on her. My optimistic self is going to think that she made it back, somehow got out of her restraints, and blew the lid on the whole Victory Project, but I guess we’ll never know.

Overall, I give Don’t Worry Darling two thumbs up for Pugh’s impeccable performance, and a solid B for a couple awkward storyline transitions but top notch visuals.

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