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‘Don’t Worry Darling’ Venice Review: Don’t Worry About The Gossip, Olivia Wilde’s 1950’s Dream Life-Turned-Nightmare Is Kinda Fun


I by no means begin a evaluate commenting on regardless of the so-called Movie Twitter Mafia need to say about it, sight unseen. Beginning again at Cinemacon in April when its director/co-star Olivia Wilde obtained served authorized papers on stage relating to her custody hearings with ex-Jason Sudeikis, there was continuous gossip about her film Don’t Fear Darling. There was a lot of it, proper as much as in the present day’s Venice Movie Pageant press convention (coated by my colleague Nancy Tartaglione)  that you just nearly have to handle the elephant within the room. Others can try this however allow us to not neglect there may be additionally a film right here, one I used to be in a position to preview as simply that just a few weeks in the past in Burbank. As a reviewer, to cite Being There’s Chauncey Gardner, “I like to look at” , and which means solely what’s on the display screen.

That stated,  by itself phrases Don’t Fear Darling is definitely fairly entertaining when you’re within the temper, even when Wilde’s sweet coated psychological thriller doesn’t rewrite the principles of the style in any important method. It’s form of a cross between Get Out, The Stepford Wives, and Rosemary’s Child with a 50’s swinging Rat Pack vibe thrown in for good measure. And perhaps even by luck of timing, the shutdown of Roe v Wade by the Supreme Courtroom gives gravitas for an underlying message right here of the fear imposed by males controlling ladies’s our bodies on this in any other case enjoyable, if acquainted, movie. Regardless of having a prestigious Out of Competitors slot for its World Premiere in the present day at Venice, this can be a business film greater than anything and the New Line Cinema manufacturing might do effectively with audiences.


As a director Wilde gained important popularity of her 2019 teen comedy, Booksmart which even rated some awards consideration. Right here she reveals she has the chops to create a 50’s fantasia of the seemingly good life in an organization city inside Palm Springs known as Victory. With dazzling manufacturing design from Katie Byron  vivid technicolored cinematography from Matthew Libatique (A Star Is Born, Black Swan), and funky costume design from Arianne Phillips the scene is about for what is meant to be the American dream. We see an enclosed utopia of homes wanting all the identical the place the wives appear to spend a lot of their time conserving the properties spotless when they don’t seem to be lounging across the pool with the opposite ladies after sending their husbands off to work (all in completely chosen completely different mannequin automobiles of the interval) to a mysterious desert location the place they’re creating what appears to be some form of prime secret enterprise within the vein of the Manhattan Undertaking or not as a result of it by no means actually is spelled out, solely that every one the lads work there and the realm is verboten for anybody else.

Within the middle of all this are Alice Chambers (Florence Pugh) and her loving husband Jack (Harry Types), a pair with a steamy intercourse life who appear genuinely in love and have landed this idealized way of life offered by Victory.  May it’s any higher than this? Effectively, sure. There are early indications of bother when one of many ladies in the neighborhood, Margaret (Kiki Layne) is appearing unusually. She is aware of greater than she ought to, really having ventured out into the off limits desert headquarters, her newfound and regarding discovery having put her husband Ted’s  (Ari’El Stachel) job now in jeopardy.

That is when Alice begins to suspect there may be extra to Victory than meets the attention even because the charismatic however creepily controlling CEO and motivational coach  Frank (Chris Pine) promotes firm man Jack to a key place of management. Her rising suspicions create battle, even coming to a boil when she confronts Frank at a dinner. The opposite ladies stay dutiful spouses although together with Frank’s spouse Shelley (Gemma Chan) who acts in live performance with him,cheerleading the dream of  the Victory way of life. Equally the vivacious Bunny (Wilde takes on the position) who’s Alice’s greatest buddy, loves what Victory affords, and retains making an attempt to maintain her within the membership.  The strain rachets as much as a boil as Alice ditches a vacationer tram experience to go examine herself. this simply isn’t going to finish effectively for her.

Working from a screenplay by her Booksmart author Katie Silberman (joined on story credit score by Carey Van Dyke and Shane Van Dyke), Wilde turns this fantasy world of an idyllic household life right into a feminist nightmare of males, notably Frank, with full management over their ladies, even when on the floor it looks like these might be our neighbors, albeit within the 50’s mindset. The supporting solid simply reinforces that and consists of Nick Kroll, Sydney Chandler, Kate Berlant, Asif Ali, and Douglas Smith. Timothy Simons has some very creepy moments as the corporate Dr. Collins. However in the long run it’s Wilde and her workforce of artisans who create the visible look that makes the story which now we have seen in varied kinds many time earlier than, work in addition to it does right here. Even using some  Busby Berkeley-stylized overhead pictures that add to the wow issue, Wilde reveals she has a great eye for this sort of factor proper right down to the soundtrack with songs from the interval providing a little bit of irony, “life might be a dream Sh-boom”.

Pugh, in a polar reverse position to the understated lady she performs in one other new movie The Surprise that additionally had its World Premiere this weekend (at Telluride) continues to point out her vary even when the character ventures into some fairly ludicrous conditions, setting out into the forbidden secret desert location alone being one in every of them. Types, as he did in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk and within the upcoming TIFF premiere of My Policeman, reveals he’s the true deal as an actor and has nice promise.  Pine makes a slick, nearly cult-like determine right into a chilling however really believable villain.

Producers are Wilde, Silberman, Miri Yoon, and Roy Lee. Warner Bros opens the movie huge in theatres solely on September 23.

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