This is a spoiler-free review! Although we do mention some scenes from the trailer.
don’t worry baby premiered in Sydney on Wednesday September 21st and I wanted to like it, I really did.
I mean, I had seen headlines of reviews that were critical Olivia Wilde‘s direction, so I knew it wouldn’t be great. Others praised Florence Pugho as the sole carrier of the film (ouch). Most critics were certainly not impressed by the much-hyped film that “feels like a movie”. Anyway, I was still excited because I saw Wilde’s directorial debut smart book and loved it.
So, despite the bad reviews, I went to watch a movie that I expected would be mostly okay. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t.
If you saw promo for don’t worry babyyou will know that it seems to be set in some sort of neo-50s American suburb in the middle of the desert, where everything is not as it seems.
The movie seems to have Stepford Wives Energy: Alice (Florence Pugh) lives an idyllic life with her sexy husband Jack (Harry Styles) until she realizes something sinister is going on. Pieces of her life give way to strange events that cannot be explained, and she begins to question her version of reality. At least that’s what we know from the trailer.
But despite being a psychological thriller, Don’t worry Darling does little exciting.
— molly is at harrys (whore) house (@pisceswhore420) September 23, 2022
The pace of the movie is a mess from start to finish, which sucks because if it wasn’t directed like that, I think I could have really enjoyed it.
The film immediately launches us into Alice’s weird Black Swan-like hallucinations, without building up her life so idyllic or perfectly beforehand. Which means no tension builds – the exact opposite of what this genre requires.
Instead, we see her visions within minutes of the start of the film. If you hadn’t seen the trailer beforehand, you’d probably assume this is her normal.
don’t worry baby also never gives you breathing room to process the bizarre parts of Alice’s life or the strange tensions around her.
The shots, while beautiful and well edited, always follow each other quickly, in a way that is reminiscent of Wilde’s first film.
Except in that movie, this kind of directing made sense: it was a comedy about teenage girls on a wild night out, so you expect it to be choppy, chaotic, fun. Pulling that style in don’t worry baby doesn’t work at all.
In a psychological thriller, you need time to process the information you are given, to build the fear and tension necessary for plot development. It’s what keeps you on the edge of your seat, guessing where this might go. But alas, the pace sucks.
While the pace was super fast, the first hour and a half of this two-hour film is also incredibly boring. What I don’t just say. It got to the point where, after the excitement of gorgeous outfits and set designs wore off, I seriously considered checking my phone — something I normally consider a crime punishable by death in a movie theater. It was that bad.
Why was it so boring, you ask? Because the first 90 minutes are all about letting us know that things are not as they seem. Nothing really happens. Except for some extremely questionable images of black women that I will definitely write about. View this space.
— Mike (@michaelcollado) September 20, 2022
Oh, and because I know you’re all eager to know: no, Harry Styles wasn’t *that bad at acting. But he certainly wasn’t very good. He’s a rock star, not a movie star.
The last 30 minutes of don’t worry baby, but I thought were pretty good. Or at least a lot more fun than the rest of the movie.
During the third act, the genre shifts from psychological thriller to action blockbuster, for which I – although strangely – was genuinely grateful. I sat up straighter in my chair and had my eyes on the scene when things finally got interesting, and dare I say, pretty good.
Questions are answered, the veil is lifted and the ending is – in my opinion – pretty damn cool.
– Florence Pugh, you will always be famous
– you guys are doing Harry so dirty with these clips
– wardrobe soundtrack aesthetic ATE
– the last half hour was a big blow
– a bit weird pace everywhere but i can forgive it #Don’t worryDarling https://t.co/gghxZFPN9x
— aaron (@aaronstruths) September 21, 2022
Olivia Wilde was definitely trying to say something when she made don’t worry baby. Some of the last act’s feminist commentary was topical, interesting, and not too over the top in the cinema.
I actually liked the concept of don’t worry babyfrom Alice’s character and backstory (Florence Pugh was great, by the way) and from what the movie *said* about a certain growing problem in our society.
Too bad this concept, while strong, was so poorly executed.
The movie and the pace as messy as the drama surrounding it. What a pity.
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Image: Warner Bros. Pictures