Paulie’s Perspective: Don’t Worry Darling

Don’t Worry Darling (2022)
Dir: Olivia Wilde
Writer: Katie Silberman; Carey Van Dyke (story); Shane Van Dyke (story)
Starring: Florence Pugh; Harry Styles; Chris Pine; Olivia Wilde


Katie Silberman was one of the writers on Booksmart, also directed by Olivia Wilde in 2019. Booksmart was released to some acclaim, so I guess Katie is now Olivia’s writer forever.

So this crazy half-baked story comes from the minds of somewhat Hollywood legends: Carey and Shane Van Dyke. These two are the grandchildren of the dearly beloved, legendary Dick Van Dyke, and nephews of the late great Jerry Van Dyke. So I have no doubt Olivia went crazy when she had the chance to work with Hollywood royalty, and that perhaps influenced her in the wrong way, because this story is terrible. Olivia seemed to do everything in this movie for social status. She took bad ideas from the Van Dykes, because they are Van Dykes – then she went ahead and casted her lover at the time, the hotter than lava, Harry Styles. I mean at the time he just sold out 15 concerts at MSG – so he was “it”.

Unfortunately this move, purely for social status, backfired on Olivia as well. Harry Styles is in a movie that is way over his head. In fact – I think this whole movie was phoned in from beginning to end. The only presence that I enjoyed in this film was Chris Pine, and since WW84, he is not on my good side. I adore Florence Pugh, but her performance here seemed a bit over the top and forced, like she wasn’t on the same page as Olivia or they were in some kind of riff and not communicating with each other very well.

The story is half baked and the acting is half baked. I think maybe Olivia was too concerned about something else than making a good movie. This movie really is a radio show, or a play. All of it is dialogue and monologuing. It is just incredible boring, and the painful fact is, this story is The Matrix but for Barbies. Instead of being in a computer program, you are in a Barbie world playing Barbie House. So it takes a brilliant idea from 1999 and feminizes it into women playing house.

So instead of wearing cool clothes the women wear 1950’s house dresses and pearls. Instead of Agents trying to keep order you have men in red jumpsuits (which are never explained). That’s another thing – there are no explanations to any of this. How it’s done, why it’s done, what the rules are, nothing. One person does manage to say, “if a man dies here, he dies in the real world too.” So at least they managed to copy that part and put it in the film.

It seems to me the Van Dyke brothers said, “Let’s do The Matrix, but for women, and they are trapped in a Barbie like world!”. Olivia maybe said “ok, great! I’ll get Katie right on it!” and this horrible thing came out. \

There is nothing here. No layers, no rules, no humor, no excitement, no honesty, no inspiration – I mean nothing. It’s just Chris Pine and Florence spewing out dialogue until the end.