Don't Worry Darling Reviews Are Here, And Florence Pugh's Performance Shines Amid The Tepid Reactions

Florence Pugh in the sun, Don't Worry Darling trailer.
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

As disturbingly provocative as the Don’t Worry Darling trailer makes the movie appear, the rumors of behind-the-scenes drama have been the focus of the media's attention in regards to the film. Debates over whether or not Harry Styles spit on co-star Chris Pine at the premiere, as well as director/star Olivia Wilde’s alleged feud with Florence Pugh have dominated the headlines, but what about the movie and the performances? Well, the reviews are in, and despite some lukewarm opinions about the film overall, the critics are raving about Pugh's turn in the thriller.

Despite the five-minute applause Don’t Worry Darling received at the Venice Film Festival, early reactions were mixed. With the film set to hit theaters on September 23, let’s take a look at what the critics are saying to get a better idea of what to expect, starting with CinemaBlend’s review of Don’t Worry Darling. Eric Eisenberg rates it 2 stars out of 5, saying that despite a promising first act, the film loses momentum quickly. Florence Pugh, however, proves that she’s one of Hollywood’s biggest talents: 

Given the star-power involved, Olivia Wilde’s rising star as a director and all of the pressures that come with a twist-centric setup, Don’t Worry Darling is a movie that invites high expectations, and it’s a shame that it can’t quite live up to them. It’s well-made in its cinematography and style, and Florence Pugh continues to demonstrate that she is among the greatest talents in her generation, but the film is lacking in enough areas to not be buoyed by its best qualities.

Brian Lowry of CNN says the on-screen drama isn’t as interesting as the on-set drama, and it’s probably comments like that that have actor Rainn Wilson wanting to play Chris Pine in a movie about the behind-the-scenes goings-on. This critic says Olivia Wilde’s sophomore directorial effort is a setback after Booksmart, and one would be OK to wait and see what she and Florence Pugh do next: 

The waves of off-screen drama and gossip surrounding Don’t Worry Darling has put director Olivia Wilde’s second movie in an awkward spot, unable to justify the hype (it’s at best OK) but probably well advised to cash in on it. Florence Pugh makes the strongest case for seeing the film, but given how in-demand she is, if you miss this one, don’t worry.

Christy Lemire of RogerEbert.com calls Florence Pugh a “powerhouse,” noting that her acting next to Harry Styles doesn’t do himself any favors in his first major movie role. She rates the movie 2 stars, saying: 

Watching Pugh once again function as the clear-eyed voice of reason—and watching her get gaslit when she tries to warn everyone about the sinister undercurrents within a joyful setting—also brings to mind her visceral work in Midsommar, one of the key performances that signaled to the world she’s one of the finest young actresses of her generation. When will people finally learn to listen to Florence Pugh???

Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post gives the movie 1.5 out of 4 stars and agrees with her counterparts when it comes to the actors portraying Don’t Worry Darling’s leading couple. The critic states: 

Luckily, Wilde saw the horror movie Midsommar and decided to use Pugh for a role in which, by dint of natural charisma and vanity-free naturalism, she manages to turn a flawed and drably tedious movie into something remotely watchable. (For his part, Styles is unimpressive but inoffensive, even when Wilde has him perform a puppetlike dance for no discernible reason.)

Travis Hopson of Punch Drunk Critics rates it 3 stars out of 5, calling Don’t Worry Darling a well-crafted thriller with a lot to say, but this critic thinks the payoff is wholly unsatisfying. From the review: 

Pugh is absolutely brilliant. Shocker, I know. She’s once again singularly amazing in the role of Alice. It’s a more complicated role than thrillers of this type generally demand. Pugh captures the inner conflict within Alice as she fights to learn the truth while yearning for the perfect life she once had. She can’t have both, so which will she ultimately choose? For a while, it’s up in the air how that’ll turn out.

The critics all seem to agree that Florence Pugh brings her full star power to Don’t Worry Darling. If you’re intrigued by the concept and whatever twists are in store, you can catch this film in theaters starting on Friday, September 23. Be sure to check out our 2022 Movie Release Schedule to start planning your next outing to the theater.

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.