Eyes up Front! Don’t Worry Darling: A Storyline from Screen to Reality

Rebekah Barrera, Arts & Entertainment Editor

   Since the announcement of its production in July 2019, Don’t Worry Darling has never left the public eye. In the three years leading up to the film’s official release, off-camera controversies were gaining more attention than the actual movie. Yet, this attention had a full set of its own conflicts, plot twists, and resolutions.

   The thriller/horror movie takes place in the 1950s, following the seemingly flawless lives of Alice (Florence Pugh) and Jack (Harry Styles) Chambers. From their picture-perfect community of Victory to Jack’s secure job at Victory Project Headquarters, Alice’s every need is met: she is essentially living in paradise. However, hints at an entirely different situation start to appear before her eyes–a realer, yet more sinister life she seems to be living. As the idea of utopia starts to fade away, Alice weighs the risks of taking a closer, more dangerous look at the perfection around her (Rotten Tomatoes).

   Other acclaimed actors took supporting roles alongside Florence and Harry, including Chris Pine, Gemma Chan, Nick Kroll, and Olivia Wilde. With a talent-packed cast and iconic leads, anticipation for Don’t Worry Darling’s drop only built up more. Junior Madison Machado, who kept up with the film’s progress, comments that “the movie had some brilliant actors in it who were giving it their all,” which was one of the most noteworthy contributions to the project’s end result.

   Of these “brilliant actors”, Harry Styles’ appearance was perhaps the most long-awaited on the big screen. While his acting career mainly kickstarted due to his role in Dunkirk, Harry made his name by being apart of the famous boyband One Direction and proceeding to release solo albums beginning in 2017. Many of his day one fans decided to watch Don’t Worry Darling solely to see what Harry could bring to the table. Sophomore Aneliese Rodriguez, a fan of Harry’s music since One Direction, has high expectations for his work. “It really shows how far he has come…” she says excitedly. “I feel like him getting his own part is a big step in his career.”

   Despite the popularity the film gained due to Harry and Florence’s roles, the cast was also at the center of the feature’s negative publicity. While nothing has been confirmed by the actors themselves, fans speculated on-set arguments between Florence and Director (and supporting actress) Olivia Wilde, eventually leading to Florence’s limited appearances during the movie’s press tour. Harry was also accused of spitting on co-star Chris Pine during the Don’t Worry Darling Premiere!

   The apparent fact that promotions weren’t smooth-sailing, coupled with Olivia’s relative lack of experience as a director seemed to outweigh the cast’s legendary statuses. Madison explains, “To be completely honest, going into the movie I had very low expectations because of A, the director, and B, all the bad reviews and press I had heard and seen.” These criticisms were reflected in the film’s low Rotten Tomatoes score of 39%.

   To think poorly of the film, however, meant that there was plenty of opportunity for the audience to be impressed. When Don’t Worry Darling finally took to movie theaters on September 23, viewers had to take a glimpse of the production’s final outcome for themselves. For many, the movie actually exceeded expectations with its cinematography, suspenseful mood, and deeper themes of feminism and power inequalities. Junior Amaya Mateo, another huge supporter of Harry, felt this exact way. “IT WAS SO GOOD!” she exclaims. “Everything in the movie is done on purpose, every shot, every character moves the plot along, and the leading actress really sold the feeling that the movie gave.”

   As the feature continues to show in theaters, it also continues to increase in popularity, although ratings remain on the lower end. “Any publicity is good publicity,” they say, and Don’t Worry Darling has truly embodied that.