In the glitzy realm of Hollywood, where headlines often shine brighter than stars, “Don’t Worry Darling” arrived like a tempestuous comet, leaving behind a trail of intrigue, glamour, and sizzling drama. Directed by the talented Olivia Wilde and graced by the enchanting Florence Pugh and heartthrob Harry Styles, this psychological thriller set the stage on fire when it hit theatres on September 23, 2022. The film unfolds a twisted narrative where gender roles, power dynamics, and paranoia collide in a tantalizing fashion.

Don't Worry Darling
Source: Max

But “Don’t Worry Darling” is not just a compelling story; it’s a Hollywood saga laced with controversies and mysteries, a script even the most imaginative screenwriter might find challenging to concoct. So, grab your popcorn and settle in as we embark on a journey through the ups, downs, and unexpected twists of this cinematic rollercoaster.

The Cast

With an ensemble cast that includes Gemma Chan, Chris Pine, Kiki Layne, and Nick Kroll, “Don’t Worry Darling” boasted an impressive lineup of talent. However, the path to assembling this stellar cast was anything but smooth.

Italy Venice Film Festival 2022 Don't Worry Darling Red Carpet
Source: Vianney Le Caer

Originally, Shia LaBeouf was pegged to play the enigmatic Jack. However, in September 2020, LaBeouf’s exit due to scheduling conflicts was the first plot twist. Later, whispers of his unprofessional behavior emerged, including accusations of not showering for weeks and unbecoming conduct with co-stars. The controversy didn’t end there, as around the same time, LaBeouf faced serious allegations of sexual battery and abuse from his ex-girlfriend FKA Twigs.

Shia LaBeouf
Source: Man of Many

In stepped Harry Styles, whose charm and professionalism won the day. Styles, best known for his music with One Direction and his breakout role in Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk,” became the torchbearer of the film. His performance in “Don’t Worry Darling” marked his first leading role, and he’s received accolades for his transformative portrayal.

Florence Pugh
Source: The Zzoe Report

Opposite Styles, Florence Pugh, known for her remarkable roles in “Midsommar,” “Little Women,” and “Black Widow,” took on the role of Alice, the film’s audacious protagonist. Her portrayal of a housewife questioning her reality underscores her dedication to challenging and complex characters.

The Orgasm

In one of her candid interviews, Wilde boldly stated her position on the portrayal of sexuality and pleasure in cinema. Her declaration that “Men don’t come in this film” brought to the forefront the film’s focus on female pleasure, an area often underrepresented in mainstream cinema. Her viewpoint is deeply rooted in her post-feminist perspective, where she seeks to break down traditional gender norms and present a narrative where women’s desires are as central as men’s.

Florence Pugh
Source: Warner Brothers

Wilde’s perspective on female pleasure aligns with a broader discourse on the depiction of sexuality in film. She emphasized that the most authentic portrayals of female pleasure are often found in queer cinema, where the focus shifts away from conventional heteronormative narratives. In her eyes, heterosexual scenes in the film have habitually concentrated on men as the recipients of pleasure, a pattern she seeks to challenge through her work.

However, after the release, she acknowledged that the sex scenes had overshadowed the actual film.

The Romance

What’s a Hollywood blockbuster without a dash of romance? Well, “Don’t Worry Darling” didn’t disappoint in that department. The off-screen love story between director Olivia Wilde and the charismatic Harry Styles added a layer of intrigue that rivaled the plot itself. Rumors of their romance first ignited when they were captured hand in hand at Styles’ manager’s wedding in January 2021, a mere two months after Wilde’s split from her long-time partner, Jason Sudeikis.

Jason Sudeikis and Olivia Wilde Family Photo
Source: US Weekly

Their romance may have been low-key, but it wasn’t off the radar for keen-eyed fans. Public displays of affection and their penchant for donning matching outfits certainly didn’t go unnoticed. What’s more, their support for each other extended beyond the red carpet. Wilde couldn’t help but praise Styles for his stellar performance in the film, while Styles expressed his heartfelt appreciation for Wilde’s guidance at various award shows.

harry styles olivia wilde holding hands
Source: Page Six

However, not all was smooth sailing. In February 2021, a COVID-19 scare forced a two-week production shutdown. Wilde and Styles found themselves in hot water after being spotted breaking quarantine rules at James Corden’s house. The public and media didn’t let this slide easily.

A Leaked Kiss and Rumors

In June 2021, a leaked clip from the film featuring a passionate kiss between Styles and Pugh set social media ablaze. The chemistry between the actors drew both praise and criticism, with some pointing to the age gap between Pugh (25) and Styles (28) and speculations about the nature of Wilde and Styles’ relationship.

harry styles olivia wilde PDA
Source: The Sun

Rumors swirled about tensions among co-stars and former partners, with tabloids suggesting discontent from Pugh regarding Wilde’s favoritism towards Styles. Sudeikis, Wilde’s former partner, was reportedly experiencing heartache over Wilde’s newfound romance. These rumors, however, were categorically denied by Wilde, who decried them as “baseless” and “sexist,” and came to the defense of Pugh against online trolls.

The Premiere Drama

The tale of “Don’t Worry Darling” reached a crescendo at its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on September 6, 2022. The film received a standing ovation from an enthralled audience. On the red carpet, Wilde, Pugh, Styles, Chan, Pine, and Layne dazzled and shared warm moments. However, keen eyes noticed Wilde’s momentary distancing from Pugh, fueling speculation of a feud.

dont worry darling cast screening
Source: People

Wilde promptly took to Instagram to quash these rumors. She posted an embracing photo of herself and Pugh from the premiere and passionately defended their friendship and camaraderie, reiterating their common purpose to create a compelling film.

The Criticism

“Don’t Worry Darling,” despite its notable cast and intriguing premise, has found itself under the scrutinizing gaze of critics, sparking a multitude of critical voices. A significant bone of contention revolves around the film’s perceived lack of originality, with numerous reviewers pointing out that it leans heavily on established works within the genre, such as “The Stepford Wives,” “Get Out,” and “Parasite.” This sense of derivation has led to accusations of unoriginal storytelling and a somewhat unexciting familiarity with the plot.

Moreover, the movie has faced allegations of sexism and problematic portrayal, particularly in its handling of female empowerment and pleasure. This aspect has left a sour taste for those seeking more nuanced and progressive storytelling.

Olivia Wilde, Chris Pine, Harry Styles, Gemma Chan and Florence Pugh attend the Campari Passion For Film 2022 Award during the 79th Venice International Film Festival on August 31, 2022 in Venice, Italy.
Source: Getty Image

On the flip side, “Don’t Worry Darling” has its fair share of champions. Critics have acclaimed Florence Pugh for her adept navigation of the complexities of the film’s multifaceted protagonist in her performance. This is a testament to her versatility as an actress, and it’s exciting to see her continue her cinematic journey in the upcoming movie “Dune Part 2,” where her talent is sure to shine once again.

dont worry darling still
Source: Warner Brothers

“Don’t Worry, Darling” is one of the most talked-about movies of 2022. It has generated a lot of drama, both on and off-screen, but it has also showcased the talents and visions of its cast and crew. Whether you love it or hate it, you can’t deny that it is a movie that will make you think, feel, and wonder. Don’t worry, darling, you won’t be disappointed.