‘Don’t Worry Darling’ an original, surprising, menacing film, made more disturbing by being beautifully shot – highly recommended.

I went to see ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ knowing nothing more about it than who was in it, who made it and what’s shown in the trailer below. I recommend that’s how you watch it too.

A lot of what makes the movie compelling is that you have to figure out what’s really going on. I think it’s best to start from scratch and lose yourself in the tale as it’s told.

Of course, that means that I’m not going to say a lot here about the plot but I will talk about why this movie made such an impression on me.

If it had not been for the cast (Florence Pugh, Olivia Wilde, Chris Pine, Gemma Chan) and the director (Olivia Wilde again), I might have given this movie a miss. It looked too ‘Mad Men’ and too slick for me, and I hated the title, which sounded like a saccharine RomCom. I didn’t realise how sinister it was until after I’d seen the movie. I also had no expectation that Harry Styles could act. Shows how wrong I can be.

All of the acting was good but Pugh and Styles were spectacular. Pine and Chan were truly menacing as the charismatic couple leading the Victory project. Pine’s charm was totally toxic and disturbingly plausible. Chan was a smiling predator, barely bothering to disguise the threat she posed or the power she wielded.

From the opening scene onwards there is something off about the smiling, shiny successful, perfect, 1950s, patriarchy-incarnate lives I was being shown. The longer I watched, the more that sense of something being off grew into menace and threat, made worse because I couldn’t see what the threat was or where it came from. Like Alice, Florence Pugh’s character, I started to experience a dissonance that was almost literally maddening.

When, eventually, I discovered what was going on, it was so much worse than anything I could imagine and yet I had no trouble accepting it. It was dreadful, horrifying, unforgiveable but it made sense of everything.

Olivia Wilde’s direction was flawless. The storytelling was subtle but clear and the pacing was perfect. The muscular physicality of the performances was amplified by the beautiful cinematography and the apt but disturbing soundtrack.

If you want to see a movie that’s different, memorable and will keep you on the edge of your seat, ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ is a good choice.

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