SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling. If you have not yet watched the movie, proceed at your own risk!
Following what seems like years of delays brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and a whirlwind of coverage surrounding the reported Don't Worry Darling drama, Olivia Wilde’s new thriller is finally out in theaters, giving audiences an opportunity to tune out the noise and see what the movie is all about for themselves. In her sophomore directorial effort — she made her debut with 2019’s Booksmart — the actress-turned-director explores a mysterious utopian community in the middle of the desert through the eyes of Florence Pugh’s ‘50s housewife Alice Chambers.
The movie, which features a shocking twist ending, offers some explanation for what happens in the first two-thirds of the story, but also leaves you asking even more questions the more you think about it. So, what happens during the Don’t Worry Darling ending? Let’s break that down now before diving into some of those burning questions...
What Happens At The End Of Don’t Worry Darling
Throughout much of Don’t Worry Darling’s runtime, it’s clear that something is going on in Victory, California that is being withheld from Alice Chambers (Florence Pugh) and her friends Bunny (Olivia Wilde), Peg (Kate Berlant), and Violet (Sydney Chandler), but the truth isn’t fully divulged until the final act. After experiencing a mental breakdown after a series of strange events — spotting a plane crash but finding no wreckage, stumbling across a mysterious structure in the desert, the suicide of her former best friend Margaret (KiKi Layne) — Alice is forced to undergo shock therapy.
This procedure is intended to reset her memories, but it has the opposite effect in that it helps Alice come to the realization the Victory Project isn’t a secretive energy project dealing with “progressive materials” but instead a computer simulation where men can essentially trap their wives in a virtual recreation of 1950s America.
Upon returning to her husband Jack (Harry Styles), Alice attempts to escape the captivity and return to the mysterious structure shown in the movie's various trailers on YouTube. But this isn’t before Jack tries to subdue her, which results in Alice smashing him over the head with a whiskey glass, killing him. With sirens blaring in the background and a small army of Victory Project guards in red jumpsuits descending upon her, Alice flees and escapes the simulation. The film ends with Alice’s memories from the simulation being wiped away while a scene of her dancing in the real (modern) world plays out before the credits roll.
The Victory Project Was Just A Simulation
There were a lot of reasons to be excited about Don’t Worry Darling ahead of the film’s release, and one those was the mystery surrounding the story and the possibility of some kind of twist ending. And Olivia Wilde doesn’t disappoint with her reveal that the Victory Project is a virtual prison where men are in charge and women fall into the roles of ‘50s housewives.
And it’s not like the Don’t Worry Darling ending comes out of left field, as Wilde and screenwriter Katie Silberman leave little hints and breadcrumbs to the big reveal along the way. First, there is the scene where Alice cracks open a carton of eggs for breakfast only for the shells to be empty (a glitch in the system). Then, there is the explosive dinner scene where Alice points out to her friends that they all were from Chicago, Baltimore, or Philadelphia, and all met their husbands a similar way (on a train).
A scene near the end confirms all of this when the audience witnesses a flashback to Alice and Jack in the real world, one where Alice is a dedicated surgeon and Jack is an out-of-work loner who finds a way to spend more time with his spouse. But there are still a lot of questions the movie doesn't answer...
What Was Frank’s Rationale Behind The Victory Project?
One of the most menacing figures on the Don’t Worry Darling cast is Chris Pine’s Frank, the elusive founder of the Victory Project. And while his character often teases the purpose behind the project (both in and out of the simulation), he never fully offers an explanation for his rationale behind the happenings.
We’re led to believe Frank’s goal is to create a world in which men are in control of essentially every aspect of life and have subservient women back home who have dinner, drinks, and passionate sex waiting for them at home. It’s alluded to in the podcast that the real-world Jack listens to in the flashback and slightly addressed in the ring ceremony scene at the big party, but Frank is killed by his wife Shelley (Gemma Chan) before it’s explicitly revealed.
How Long Has The Victory Project Simulation Been Going On?
Another question not answered by the end of Don’t Worry Darling relates to the simulation itself, specifically regarding its duration. How long has Frank kept the Victory Project up and running and how long have some of its inhabitants been there? Months, years, decades? It’s never explicitly revealed.
Obviously, some time has passed since Alice, Bunny, and the other wives first entered the simulation, considering the story of Margaret having a slow downward spiral preceding the mysterious disappearance of her son. And Bunny seems to imply she’s also been there there for quite a while when she reveals to Alice that she knows it’s a simulation, but one where her children are still alive.
What Happens Next For Alice And Shelley
In the final minutes of Don’t Worry Darling Alice and Shelley both kill their husbands in rather brutal ways — Alice slamming the glass over Jack’s head, Shelley stabbing Frank in the chest and twisting the knife — which leads to another question: what happens to them next?
Alice presumably wakes next to her husband’s corpse after escaping the simulation (if you die in the Victory Project you die in real life), which will undoubtedly cause some complications as she readjusts to the real world. And taking away the whole “dead man in my bed” situation, what kind of state will Alice be in mentally and emotionally following such intense trauma?
And the same goes for Shelley. Will she put an end to the Victory Project simulation now that Frank is no longer there to run things, or will she pick up where he left off and keep the simulation going? All of these questions are open to interpretation.
What Was The Deal With The Airplane Crash?
One mystery that will surely boggle the minds of those coming out of Don’t Worry Darling is the plane crash that Alice witnesses while on the Victory shuttle partway through the movie. This ultimately leads to her finding the mysterious structure on top of a mountain in the desert surrounding the town, but the plane, its wreckage, and meaning are never brought up again.
Was this another glitch in the system, some part of Alice’s real world breaking into the simulation, or just a red herring thrown in to distract the audience (like those daily explosions) for a moment?
Overall, Olivia Wilde does a great job of tying the bow on part of the story during the Don't Worry Darling ending, but while also leaving some big unanswered questions. However, if that's what it takes to keep audiences talking about one of the most anticipated fall movies, then so be it. Don’t Worry Darling is currently playing in theaters nationwide along with some other promising 2022 movies.
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Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop barking at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.