Don’t Worry Darling is one of those cases where one watches the film more out of curiosity than healthy interest. The film, which arrived in theaters last Sept. 22 and was presented at the Venice Film Festival last Sept. 5, began to be talked about long before the trailer, teaser and first photos from the set.
In fact, the controversies began right at the beginning of filming, when Olivia Wilde, who signs off as director, fired Shia LaBeouf, justifying this decision to the actor’s method of working, which according to Wilde did not fit her modus operandi.
Olivia Wilde’s problems also continued with the leading lady, Florence Pugh, with whom she seems to have had several tensions (never publicly confirmed).
Rounding out this complicated production phase came the director’s choice to replace LaBeouf with then-partner Harry Styles.
Inevitably, all these events also took their toll on the promotion phase, which, however, shifted the focus from the actual film to pure gossip.
A shame? Perhaps not.
Alice and Jack Chambers are a happily married couple living in Victory, an experimental 1950s community where the men spend all day at work, while the women take care of the house, and then spend their free time with their neighbors. Something suddenly changes, however, and Alice begins to feel constrained in that life, with an increasing desire to discover what lies beyond the city limits. This is the plot, which in itself also hides something potentially interesting, unfortunately it is the development that is lacking. It’s like when teachers in school used to say “he has potential but he doesn’t apply himself.”
Of all that Don’t Worry Darling puts on the table-which seems more like a need for redemption on Wilde’s part-something is saved and it is the reason why the film lets you watch it to the end: the aesthetics.
In fact, the director used the work of Matthew Libatique, an American cinematographer and regular collaborator of Darren Aronofsky, to take care of the photography. In nearly three decades of work, Libatique has handled the cinematography for such films as Requiem for a Dream and The Black Swan, experience that led him to be prepared for the eerie reality brought to the big screen in Don’t Worry Darling. It is immediately noticeable how the warm light that illuminates the entire town becomes cold and gloomy when Alice is alone with herself, and becomes colder and colder as time passes. The use of light, then, goes hand in hand with the colors of the places: for example, the bathroom tiles are green, reminiscent of hospital uniforms.
For this reason, it was particularly difficult to select only 10 frames from the film, which perhaps focused heavily on aesthetics and too little on content.