Why “Don’t Worry Darling” Drama is More Thrilling than the Film

Lauren Walters, Managing Editor

When Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling was released on September 23, 2022, so did a whirlwind of drama and controversy surrounding the film. As if it wasn’t enough to cast Oscar-nominated actress Florence Pugh in the leading role, the film features Grammy Award winning singer and heartthrob Harry Styles as her romantic interest. Naturally, with a cast like that, the film had all sorts of buzz on social media before it was even released. 


From the alleged romance between Styles and the film’s director, Oivia Wilde, to conflict between castmates, the movie became more of a spectacle than an art piece. Upon the movie’s release, it seemed the world was more absorbed with the drama between its star actors than the movie itself. But the incident that blew up the internet was one way more absurd than your standard love and war on set. 


When a video was released of actors sitting down for the Don’t Worry Darling Premiere, fans noticed a concerning interaction between Harry Styles and Chris Pine, another one of the film’s lead actors. As Styles went to take his seat next, it appeared to fans that Styles had deliberately spit on Pine, who was seated next to him. Though a statement has since been released by a representative on behalf of Pine, defending Styles’ honor, people still can’t seem to get past this event. Unfortunately, this incident helped generate interest in the drama surrounding the movie, but not so much the movie itself.


Drama aside, I was curious to form my own opinion on the movie. As I sat down at my late showing of the film, I realized I hadn’t even known the premise or genre of the movie I was seeing. To my surprise, the movie is a horror/thriller that totes dystopian themes. While it did present some chilling visuals at times, the movie fell short of thrilling, with the first hour and a half of the movie feeling as if we were waiting for something to actually happen. 


The moments that it seemed the audience was meant to be shocked, uncomfortable, or scared, felt like they were missing nuance. The audience knows from the beginning that the characters are in a dystopian society, but it feels like there should be more commentary than the simple “not everything is what it seems.” This holds true until the last half hour when the movie showcased its first true twist. 


Wilde’s final half hour is where the film goes from a shallow dystopian story to something more uniquely disturbing. However, even with this pivot, after two hours of watching the movie with only a half hour of truly interesting content, you’re left wondering if it was even worth it. Even in its best moments, the film is riddled with plot holes and awkward acting moments. There were several times throughout the film when I couldn’t help but turn and exchange a raised eyebrow with my friends sitting next to me, as Harry Styles attempted to act like someone other than himself. 


Many moments throughout the film, particularly in the beginning, feel more like celebrity fan fiction than a serious film, and Styles’ obvious inexperience with acting largely contributed to this. While his performance is not nearly horrible, he definitely could have used some more practice before being thrown into such a large, serious role.


After seeing the movie for myself, it makes sense why most of the buzz around the movie is about the drama between the actors. The movie itself doesn’t offer much when it comes to possible commentary to be made or deep conversation and with it falling under the dystopian category, I would say that means it fell short of success.


Overall, while the film might work for fans of Styles and/or Pugh who are excited to see their favorites on screen together, there’s not much else to get out of this film, making it a watch that most could definitely live without.