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Home Entertainment 'Don't Worry Darling' review: Florence Pugh isn't enough to redeem Olivia Wilde's...

‘Don’t Worry Darling’ review: Florence Pugh isn’t enough to redeem Olivia Wilde’s tabloid-friendly second movie

The darkly mysterious idea represents a marked departure from Wilde’s spectacular debut with “Booksmart,” a small coming-of-age film that hit all the correct notes. Given an opportunity to step up in school, the actor turned director has assembled a topnotch forged, however in a narrative that teases the buildup a bit too lengthy and does not pay it off very neatly; certainly, the ending turns into what the film’s driving power speaks of endeavoring to keep away from — particularly, chaos.

Owing a religious debt to “The Stepford Wives” with its fastidiously manicured picture of suburbia, there are many more moderen factors of comparability as nicely, such because the George Clooney-directed “Suburbicon.” There’s even a dollop of “Edward Scissorhands” within the pastel imaginative and prescient of an ideal cul de sac the place the menfolk drive single file to work whereas their wives dutifully wave goodbye.

Alice (Pugh) and her husband Jack (Harry Kinds) seem like residing the dream, partying onerous together with his coworkers within the Nineteen Fifties-style deliberate group the place all of them reside. The 2 are insanely sizzling for one another, nearly sickeningly so to listen to Alice’s pal Bunny (performed by Wilde) inform it.

Wanting nearer, although, all of it appears somewhat too excellent, and thus suspicious, starting with the truth that no one will clarify what precisely it’s they do working for one thing referred to as the Victory Challenge. There’s additionally a cult-like devotion to the boss, Frank (Chris Pine, like Pugh, a reduce above the fabric), who will get his costs to enthusiastically embrace that they are “altering the world.”

Harry Styles and Florence Pugh play a couple in a company town in 'Don't Worry Darling,' directed by Olivia Wilde.

If the objective is a sort of happy-talk conformity, that offers method to what resembles gaslighting when Alice begins to sense that one thing’s mistaken, fueled by unusual goals, surreal photos and the conduct of a neighbor.

Based mostly on a script credited to Shane and Carey Van Dyke (Dick Van Dyke’s grandsons) together with “Booksmart’s” Katie Silberman, “Do not Fear Darling” stumbles into the inventive lure of following the mannequin of a “The Twilight Zone” episode, simply with out the type of revelation that may carry it into that sequence’ extra memorable tier. Whereas the movie has one thing to say about gender politics and misogyny, it isn’t articulated nicely sufficient to differentiate itself from any variety of different motion pictures.

On condition that, the query posed by the New York Times relating to the controversy relating to the off-screen relationships — “Will the Spiraling Publicity Hurt ‘Do not Fear Darling’ on the Field Workplace?” — appears exactly the wrong way up; moderately, the actual problem is whether or not that curiosity, together with the Zapruder film-like evaluation of the celebrities at the Venice Film Festival premiere, can spur curiosity in an in any other case nondescript film? (The movie is being launched by Warner Bros., like CNN, a unit of Warner Bros. Discovery.)
Virtually talking, regardless of the warmth surrounding Kinds as he steps up his appearing profession, the first draw must be Pugh, whose rising profile — with an Oscar nomination for “Little Girls,” “Black Widow” and the upcoming “Dune” — will see her in one other film, “Marvel,” come November.

After Wilde’s spectacular debut, there’s invariably anticipation to see if a filmmaker can pull off one other success. By that measure “Do not Fear Darling” feels extra like a modest setback than a serious disappointment, however in the end, it is onerous to name this undertaking as a victory.

“Do not Fear Darling” premieres in US theaters on September 23. It is rated R. The movie is distributed by Warner Bros. Studios, which like CNN is a part of Warner Bros. Discovery.

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