Don't Worry Darling: 3 Ways The Thriller Fell Flat, And 3 Ways It Didn't

Florence Pugh as Alice in Don't Worry Darling
(Image credit: Warner Bros)

After everyone has learned the extensive timeline of Don’t Worry Darling drama, and everything else that has come with it, the psychological thriller has finally come to screens and it’s, uh…average? Bad? It’s hard to explain.

Despite Florence Pugh and the film receiving a several-minute standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival, Don’t Worry Darling was arguably one of the flops of the year, featuring pretty lukewarm reviews for a film that was so anticipated. But, as someone who has seen the film, I’m going to say that it wasn’t all bad. 

There are several things in Don’t Worry Darling that worked, and several other things that fell flat, but instead of getting into every little critique I have of the film, we’re going to talk about three things that I felt worked for the film, and three that didn’t. Let’s get started. 

Florence Pugh in white shirt dress Don't Worry Darling.

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Worked: The Acting Performances Of Florence Pugh, Chris Pine, And KiKi Layne

The entire Don’t Worry Darling cast is filled to the brim with so much talent. But three of the cast members really stood out to me with their acting performances. 

Of course, I have to mention my girl, Florence Pugh. The actress has already proven herself to be capable in several other roles, whether that be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Yelena Belova (a character she’s going to be reprising in the upcoming Thunderbolts movie), or in the fantastic A24 horror movie, Midsommar. But no matter what, she gives it 100% and this movie is no different. She was outstanding in every way and shined. 

Another person I want to highlight is KiKi Layne – so much so that I am peeved she was cut from most of the movie, because for the time she was in the film, her scenes were powerful. I wish that more of her story had been left in, because she was a real scene-stealer. 

The last person who really took my breath away was Chris Pine. I’ve always loved his work and knew he was a good actor, but I think his portrayal of Frank was one of his standout performances, and it’s a shame that it’s under such a ‘meh’ script. But, we’ll get into that in a bit. 

Harry Styles' Jack helps Alice out of car in Don't Worry Darling.

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Fell Flat: Harry Styles’ Performance

Look, I love Harry Styles. I was a One Direction girl. I listen to his music nonstop now. He has a great voice and a great stage presence. 

But, for the love of God, someone get him a better acting coach, please.

On a good note, I do think that there is potential for Styles’ to be a good actor, but I feel like he hasn’t been given good direction in terms of how to properly show emotion in his voice. I know he could possibly do it if he’s given the proper help, but for now, I really think he should be kept out of spotlight roles until he gets a handle on how to really act. 

Which makes me nervous, considering he was just in a Marvel post-credits scene for Eternals. Let’s hope My Policeman is a better performance from him. 

chris pine yelling in don't worry darling

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Worked: The Cinematography And Sets

This movie, visually, was outstanding. Seriously. 

In the year 2022, we have seen some crazy set design and cinematography. We had Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Top Gun: Maverick, and what will likely be a VFX masterpiece, the upcoming Avatar: The Way of Water, is yet to come. 

There’s something I really do love about Don’t Worry Darling and the way it was shot. The sets that were designed for The Victory Project were truly outstanding, and how it was shot is something that I will probably always love to talk about. The way Pugh’s face is framed when she begins to spiral is so magnificently done it makes me wonder why we aren’t talking more about this film visually. 

Kiki Layne in Don't Worry Darling.

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Fell Flat: The Climax

I am very adamant about the fact that your film could be shot on a literal iPhone, or even a Nokia, but as long as it has a good story, you’re golden. Some of my favorite films of all time have been independent movies that no one has ever heard of, but it’s because they have great stories. 

Don’t Worry Darling wasn’t that. 

Without getting into specifics just in case there are people who haven’t seen the film here, the way in which we reach the climax doesn’t feel earned. As an audience member, we are given specific clues at the beginning of the film about where we think this all might be heading, but in reality, a lot of it feels thrown away in terms of where the climax is taken. 

The only good thing about the climax of this film is, again, Pugh’s performance was spot on and made me want to keep watching her. But, there’s just something about the way the story was told that made me feel led on, and that the story being told was completely abandoned. 

Here’s the best way I can describe it – Don’t Worry Darling’s script feels like the first draft of a film that could have been great. But they stopped at the first draft stage. 

Florence Pugh in the sun, Don't Worry Darling trailer.

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Worked: The Costume Design

The costumes in this film, ugh, I love them. 

Granted, this could just be how I feel when it comes to period clothing, but they knocked it out of the park with the costume design in this film. While the clothes and hairstyles were basically taken from 1950s/early '60s, it was almost a good combination of older styles with a more modern take, and I loved it. 

The vibrancy of the colors were done so well, too. For a film that really relies on the scary factor and unknown feelings that Pugh is going through, thinking that she is slowly losing her mind throughout the film, I love that they decided to go with a color scheme that was vibrant and colorful. 

It really shows the disconnect that Pugh’s character has between the world she is physically living in and the mental state she is experiencing. Despite the fact that everything around her is colorful, her mind is colorless and worrisome.

I mean, if I could dress like Florence Pugh or Harry Styles, I would do so in a heartbeat. I need to get those outfits, stat. 

Florence Pugh looking confused in Don't Worry Darling

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Fell Flat: The Ending 

God, a part of me doesn’t want to talk about the ending here. I’m not going to get into details about the Don’t Worry Darling ending, because if for some reason you haven’t seen it, I don’t want to ruin the twist that it does have – regardless of how I feel about said twist. 

Without spoilers, I can openly say here that it’s just...not good, and leaves you with more questions than answers.

I said it in my second ‘fell flat’ point, and I’ll say it again – this script feels like the first draft of what could have been an exceptional film, but the way it ends feels unearned and rushed, and I despise it. Apparently, there was another draft with another ending that is so much better, and if you’ve seen the film, be sure to check out the alternate ending, because my God, it would have made eons more sense. 

I’m going to be honest and say a big reason I ended up seeing this film was because of the drama that was surrounding it, but at the end of the day, it felt like an average film that could have been so much better. Here’s hoping that Pugh’s next big film, Dune 2, will be a better fit for her.  

Alexandra Ramos
Content Producer

A self-proclaimed nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire, Alexandra Ramos is a Content Producer at CinemaBlend. She first started off working in December 2020 as a Freelance Writer after graduating from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Journalism and a minor in English. She primarily works in features for movies, TV, and sometimes video games. (Please don't debate her on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!) She is also the main person who runs both our daily newsletter, The CinemaBlend Daily, and our ReelBlend newsletter.