Movie: Don’t Worry Darling
Plot: A 1950s housewife living with her husband in a utopian experimental community begins to worry that his glamorous company could be hiding disturbing secrets.
Cast: Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, Olivia Wilde, KiKi Layne, Gemma Chan, and Nick Kroll
Director: Olivia Wilde
Release Date: September 23, 2022
Studio: Warner Brothers Pictures
Number of Graders: 15
HCA Overall Grade: C+

Nikki Fowler says, “Totally enjoyed Don’t Worry Darling. The cinematography and direction were absolute fire, and this film is visually flawless. Hair, makeup, sound, costumes, and sets were all perfection. Florence Pugh knocked this role out of the park and her talent simply shines. She literally gave us everything we could ask for in Alice from hysterically crying and bewildered to setting a dumpster fire on anyone getting in her way. Loved Olivia Wilde, Chris Pine, and Gemma Chan’s performances. Harry Styles shows a lot of range. He completely channeled the boring and mundane Jack and when it was time, he gave you distraught, desperate, psycho, and delusional. Kiki Layne was chilling. Loved the modern plot twist. This is a racy, sexy yet disturbing womanist film to put on your must-watch list.”

Grade: A

Abbie Bernstein says, “Olivia Wilde is a strong director, with an engaging visual sense. Florence Pugh provides a center of gravity and never puts a foot wrong. Director and performer between them make Don’t Worry Darling highly watchable, even when the third act becomes a giant ball of exposition. Here’s where suspension of belief begins to fray. The filmmakers are selective about what they want to explain. On the one hand, we can understand why they don’t want to spend more time on something that bogs down the action. On the other hand, this is a case where if they’re going to go as far as they do with details, they’d be better off going the rest of the way.”

Grade: B

Don Shanahan says, “Soften the scalpels of credulity with Don’t Worry Darling. You’re not going to get told everything, and, honestly, you shouldn’t be. Know that you are entering pure mindfuck territory. Wilde’s bold presentation is a worthy entry into that pantheon of rug pulls and repeat viewing potential, even if it’s to measure missteps versus successes.

Grade: B

Scott Menzel says, “Don’t Worry Darling looks and feels like a film with a much bigger budget than the film actually had. Olivia Wilde directs the hell out of this project and manages to tackle a completely different genre than her directorial debut, Booksmart. Florence Pugh and Harry Styles are good together. The film is very entertaining and fun to watch. The problem, however, is that Don’t Worry Darling ultimately bites off more than it can chew. There are certain scenes that make little to no sense at all and the last 20 minutes really hurt the film. The script, which was written by Katie Silberman, feels disjointed and like multiple people were trying to put together the script. Overall, Don’t Worry Darling is a decent enough sophomore project for Wilde but could have been a whole lot better given a stronger screenplay to elevate the visuals and performances.” 

Grade: B- 

Brian Formo says, “Simply put, it’s a fun movie to look at and Wilde, Pugh, and Pine are all able to significantly string intrigue. But it is lacking in a complete experience because it holds its cards a little too long while treading some familiar territory in the lead-up. This is a softer Black Mirror update of The Stepford Wives, but what does make it modern could use a little earlier attention, especially in regards to the men in Victory. For all the press quotes that are out there to help us along, Darling is actually too gun-shy at looking directly at modern toxic masculinity. It’s more comfortable in the 50s mold. Perhaps this is to spare Styles’ heartthrob status, but you can tell that Pine would be willing to go anywhere that is required in this world. And it’s too bad he doesn’t get to go deeper. Perhaps this is because the 50s style is so intoxicating, the desire to actually peer into the ugliness was more muted than it should be.”

Grade: B-

Mark Johnson says, “Don’t Worry Darling was full of strong performances, was paced well, and did a solid job keeping me interested in the story. It could have benefitted from a stronger ending, one a little less predictable, but overall is worth a watch.

Grade: B-

Yael Tygiel says, “Don’t Worry Darling has such an incredible cast and a truly fascinating seed of a premise as its foundation, yet the execution of the story was severely lacking and understandably disappointing. Florence Pugh is captivating. Her passion and on-screen chemistry with Harry Styles is absolutely hypnotic, but the fundamental logic, underuse of Gemma Chan, and unexplained mythology were too distracting to go unnoticed.

Grade: C+

Stacey Yvonne says, “I wanted so badly to be able to say “despite on-set messiness and the PR tour disaster (that was entertaining for all of the wrong reasons) Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling is a triumph! And it almost was! Almost.

Grade: C+

Ema Sasic says, Don’t Worry Darling is a stylistically beautiful film that will immerse you into its seductive world with stunning production design, costumes, cinematography, and sound. Florence Pugh is a marvel to watch on screen as her sense of comfort and reality slowly unravels, much like what audiences saw in Midsommar. Chris Pine is also a delight to see with his sinister gaze, while Harry Styles holds his own reasonably well as an acting newcomer. But once the film introduces its twist, it fails to explore it, build on it or answer any questions arising from the reveal. Perhaps the most disappointing element of the film is that it touches on several relevant themes, such as control, male dominance, and a woman’s place in the world, but it fails to dig deep into those topics.

Grade: C+

Tom O’Brien says, “For all the backstage drama for which the film will most likely be remembered, Olivia Wilde’s psychological thriller Don’t Worry Darling is actually not bad for the first two-thirds. Wilde effectively builds tension within this sunshine-drenched world, and Florence Pugh earns the empathy of the audience with a strong performance as the film’s paranoid heroine. But as it builds to a climax, the script inserts a ridiculous plot twist that is never fully explained, and, as a result, my audience left the theater thoroughly confused. The costumes and production design are gorgeous, however, and my hometown, Palm Springs, has never looked creepier.

Grade: C+

Patrick Beatty says, “No doubt Florence Pugh is fantastic, and she’s carrying all of the film on her shoulders. But with lingering plot holes and lackluster suspense, Don’t Worry Darling fails to hit the mark.

Grade: C+

Aaron Neuwirth says, “Regardless of the works cited, there’s just not a lot in Don’t Worry Darling that feels unique or refreshing.” 

Grade: C

David Gonzales says, “Don’t Worry Darling is ripe with worry. A puzzle in which its pieces don’t quite fully fit as its inconsistent third act reveal will leave cinephiles wondering, “what could have been?

Grade: C

Demetri Panos says, “Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling is a psychological thriller in the same vein of an M. Night movie…..Unfortunately a bad M. Night movie.

Grade: C-

Michael Lee says, “Don’t Worry Darling is a halfway decent psychological thriller that asks far too many questions and gives far too few satisfying answers. While Florence Pugh shines, the rest of the film loses itself with the constant introduction of concepts and poor follow-through. It’s just okay.” 

Grade: C-

Don’t Worry Darling is now playing exclusively in theaters