Don’t Fear Darling REVIEW: An formidable feminist flick sabotaged by its personal popularity

Don't Worry Darling

Florence Pugh stars on this fashionable thriller (Picture: WARNER BROS)

With likeable coming-of-age comedy Booksmart already beneath her belt, actress and director Olivia Wilde’s latest providing ought to have left audiences intrigued to see what got here subsequent. As a substitute, due to a combination of awkward interviews, stories of pressure between forged members and a few really meme-worthy moments (See: “My favorite factor in regards to the film is, like, it seems like a film” – Harry Kinds), Don’t Fear Darling appeared doomed to fail from the beginning.

Regardless of all of the drama, audiences could also be stunned to search out that the fashionable, tension-filled piece of cinema truly makes for an pleasing couple of hours. Firstly, the movie is gorgeous to have a look at. Cinematographer Matthew Libatique, who has labored on a few of Darren Aronofsky’s greatest works together with Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream, ensures it’s a sensory delight from begin to end. Every morning of their picturesque little cul-de-sac, wives come out of their equivalent homes to wave farewell to their identically-dressed husbands as they drive off to work at precisely the identical time. The eerie uniformity and vibrant use of color may be very paying homage to Edward Scissorhands – one other nightmarish tackle the American Dream from the thoughts of Tim Burton. 

You are reading: Don’t Fear Darling REVIEW: An formidable feminist flick sabotaged by its personal popularity

It must also come as no nice shock that, as typical, Florence Pugh’s efficiency is prime notch. Pugh performs Alice Chambers, one of many wives of the lads working within the mysterious “Victory Venture”. This small group of {couples} and their youngsters reside in a planned-community in a distant a part of a California desert in what seems to be the late 1950’s. Over the course of the movie, it rapidly turns into obvious that every one will not be because it appears, however Pugh succeeds in delivering a nuanced efficiency amid some heavy-handed symbolism. A lesser actress might need placed on a indifferent, smiling-through-the-pain, Mad Males’s Betty Draper routine. As a substitute Pugh’s efficiency is buzzing with life and pushed by a determined, defiant spark that makes her character charming to look at. Undoubtedly, the movie’s lead elevates your entire piece and makes it well worth the watch.

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In the meantime, Chris Pine is surprisingly plausible in his charismatic cult chief position – though admittedly, his character is a reasonably one-dimensional villain. Whereas he does a positive job of plastering on a sinister smile, among the greatest scenes within the movie are born out of his interactions with Pugh’s character. The chemistry between the pair is electrical and, in a single explicit scene, I used to be amazed she didn’t fly throughout the dinner desk at him with a kitchen knife in hand.

Don't worry darling

Olivia Wilde stars her personal unsettling model of The Stepford Wives (Picture: WARNER BROS)

One of many largest query marks hanging over the movie is expounded to Harry Kinds’ appearing skill. Many assumed his efficiency can be a complete automobile crash, however I believed it was truly completely ample in the course of the movie’s first half. The popstar is satisfactory within the, once more, pretty one-dimensional position of a wide-eyed, formidable younger businessman and devoted husband. Sadly, he does fall quick because the movie reached its emotional climax, the place extra depth is required from him than he is ready to give – particularly reverse a expertise like Pugh. However, it’s equally tough to check unique casting choose Shia LaBeouf in his place because the affable, easy-to-manipulate younger worker. 

Don’t Fear Darling’s plot will undoubtedly show divisive with audiences, because it all hinges on one large twist. Some viewers may be irritated by means of such a plot system. Nevertheless, I felt the twist labored, as its function was to ship the movie’s central message. That stated, after the twist has been revealed, the pacing turns into rushed because the movie makes an attempt to cram in a believable rationalization at lightning velocity within the remaining act. And, even regardless of the massive reveal, we’re nonetheless left with one million extra questions in regards to the Victory Venture and what all of it means. 

Don't worry darling

Harry Kinds has drawn criticism for his efficiency within the movie (Picture: WARNER BROS)

The primary half of the movie is definitely the place the thriller is at its most attention-grabbing, as Pugh’s jarring flashbacks and unusual hallucinations trace at one thing extra sinister mendacity beneath the shiny floor of their seemingly-perfect group. All through the film, you get the sense that these ladies are suffocating. That is exemplified in one in every of its extra disturbing scenes, which sees Pugh’s character get the overwhelming urge to asphyxiate herself with cling movie while getting ready meals within the kitchen. Even the scenes when the character is completely happy make you need to scream. Early on, we see Alice relentlessly scrubbing each floor of the home earlier than spending hours cooking an elaborate dinner and setting the eating room desk. When her husband (Kinds) comes house from work, he decides to “deal with his lady” to some steamy antics on stated desk, knocking off the carefully-prepared feast within the course of. 

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Regardless of the movie’s mid-Twentieth century setting, there’s a scathing piece of social commentary at its centre reminding us that gender inequality is an ever-present concern. The concept that women and men should make totally different sacrifices and that they’re entitled to totally different rewards. The concept that one gentle have to be dimmed to ensure that one other to shine. On this post-Trump period of incel tradition and the rising reputation of on-line misogynists like Andrew Tate, it generally seems like a stone’s throw away. 

Don't worry darling

The movie leaves its viewers with loads of questions (Picture: WARNER BROS )

In the end, Don’t Fear Darling feels as if it’s dancing on the precipice of one thing deeper and, whereas it pushes additional and additional in the direction of a extra profound revelation, Wilde by no means peels again that further layer to indicate the true ugliness beneath. A comparability may be made right here to Wilde’s debut movie Booksmart – a improbable movie that suffers from one related flaw. Within the movie’s climax, the place highschool greatest buddies Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) get into an enormous struggle at a celebration, Wilde once more chooses to drown out their phrases with music quite than go away such ugliness uncovered. 

Two films and a number of other PR nightmares later, Wilde has confirmed herself to be a gifted filmmaker – however whereas she continues to tug herself again, she has but to strike gold. However, Roland Barthes as soon as wrote that “the beginning of the reader have to be at the price of the demise of the Creator”. In that very same spirit, is it actually honest that this movie may be judged as mere Hollywood fodder? Absolutely, we the viewers ought to endeavour to separate the artwork from the artist. Two ideas to go away you with: this movie was not a catastrophe; it was undoubtedly a film. 

got the chance to attend the premiere screening of Don’t Fear Darling on the newly-launched in Egham, Surrey.

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