It’s challenging to discuss “Don’t Worry Darling,” the latest movie starring Olivia Wilde, in a way that is both reasonable and responsible because so much of the movie’s significance comes from a plot twist that occurs in the middle of the movie and that I don’t want to reveal. (I’ll exercise caution, but lector) The film, which is primarily set in California in what seems to be the late 1950s, uses remarkable production design, dramatic staging, and narrative intricacies to poison its own authenticity and make the action spooky, unsettling, and elusive. The movie’s self-deprecating undertones and huge dramatic reveal also serve a broader purpose: by illustrating tyranny in an out-of-synch, past-tense America, it draws attention to the political illnesses that exist in that nation now. Don’t Be Anxious, Darling.
One of the women residing in Victory, a planned city built in an isolated area of a California desert, is Alice Chambers, who is portrayed by Florence Pugh. Her husband Jack (Harry Styles), like all the husbands of all the women she knows, works for the Victory Project, which appears to be involved in defence and which, like the town itself, was developed and is managed by a sunny, affable man named Frank (Chris Pine). But something doesn’t seem right, starting with the unsettling uniformity of the town. Jack and the other men, including Dean (Nick Kroll) and Pete (Asif Ali), pull out of their driveways at precisely the same time each morning at the cul-de-sac where the Chamberses and their neighbours live, seen off similarly by their wives, Alice, Bunny (Olivia Wilde), and Peg (Kate Berlant).
Shia LaBeouf was the original choice for Wilde’s casting of Jack before Styles was added. In order to “protect” her actors, particularly Pugh, from his (unspecified) actions, according to Wilde, she fired LaBeouf. In a recent piece in Vanity Fair, Wilde claims that Pugh informed her that she had reservations about LaBeouf. In a video that Wilde sent to LaBeouf, she expressed her desire for him to come back and work with Pugh. LaBeouf claims that he wasn’t fired but quit due to a lack of rehearsal time. (It is said that Wilde took the video before Pugh’s uneasiness with LaBeouf became apparent.) The fact that Wilde and Styles started dating during the shoot raised the suspense. Despite the fact that Wilde may have shown bad judgement in