From being one of 2022’s most anticipated movies to getting bombed by bad press, Don’t Worry Darling has had quite an arduous journey. But even with all the controversies around it, viewers were hoping that at least the plot and the stellar cast would be enough to redeem the film.
So, what is Don’t Worry Darling all about? (Warning, spoilers ahead!)
Don’t Worry Darling follows housewife Alice (Florence Pugh) who seemingly lives a perfect life in a 1950s idyllic, desert town. However, once she starts witnessing odd, horrifying incidents, she realizes she’s being trapped in a simulation against her will.
Want a little more insight into the plot? Get into this detailed recap.
Plot of Don’t Worry Darling
Don’t Worry Darling starts off with Alice Chambers bidding her husband, Jack, a good day at work. We’re in a picturesque 1950s desert town called Victory, which is specially allocated to the husbands working at Victory Headquarters.
Like all the other wives, Alice spends her day cooking, cleaning, and waiting on her husband on hand and foot, all while dressed to the nines. There is a good part of the movie that is dedicated to making this life and community seem perfect.
But it starts to unravel when she accidentally visits Victory Headquarters and touches one of its mirror walls. Unexplained, this activates a series of hallucinations and she even sees one of her neighbors, Margaret, commit suicide.
Looking for answers, Alice grows increasingly erratic. But her fears are dismissed by almost everyone, including Jack. Even the head of Project Victory, Frank, toys with her—first by confirming that her suspicions were true and then by gaslighting her in front of everyone.
To “treat” her outbursts, Alice is forced to undergo shock therapy. Here is when she finally has a flashback that reveals that the life she is currently living is not real, it’s a simulation. In the real world, in 2022, she is a skilled surgeon named Alice Warren married to an unemployed Jack.
Despite her best efforts, Jack continues to bum around burning a financial hole in their pockets. At a breaking point, he gets frustrated by Alice’s complaints, knocks her unconscious, and admits her into Frank’s Victory simulation.
Frank’s organization believes that women are subservient and has technology that allows men to put their female partners in a simulation against their own will. As we’re now aware, the simulation is aptly based in the ’50s, when a woman’s role was confined to fulfilling all of her husband’s needs.
Once Alice reveals to Jack that she knows the truth, he tries to attack her while pretending to apologize. In their scuffle, Alice ends up killing him. She then encounters Bunny who reveals she knows they’re in a simulation, but chooses to be here since her children died in real life.
She also tells Alice that the simulation’s exit lies in the headquarters. After a stirring car chase and a plea from a dead Jack’s hologram about not giving up her “perfect” life, Alice once again touches the headquarters’ glass wall.
The screen cuts to black with the sound of Alice’s gasping filling the silence. It is assumed that Alice finally escapes the simulation and wakes up in the real world.
Shortcomings of Don’t Worry Darling
One of the biggest letdowns of Don’t Worry Darling’s plot is how surface-level it is. It desperately seeks to create the horror and anxiety one feels while watching scenes that are intentionally inexplicable (as shown in Midsommar, another Pugh-starrer) but comes nowhere close.
The problem lies in the fact that a concept such as the one depicted in Don’t Worry Darling needs exploration. How did Frank’s project take off? How is the law force not concerned about these kidnapped women? How do the husbands/boyfriends find it financially feasible to keep their partners in such simulations, when they’re shown to be lazy and unemployed in the “real” world?
Most importantly, Alice may have exited the simulation, but has she really won? Is she really free/safe? One has to consider that she will wake up in a room in Frank’s simulation headquarters. There is a huge possibility she’ll be caught and silenced so that she cannot rat out the heinous project.
Don’t Worry Darling ultimately fails in creating a space that truly invokes the precarious state of being a woman and instead leaves the audience with too many plot holes to fall into.
About Don’t Worry Darling
Don’t Worry Darling is a 2022 American psychological thriller film directed by Olivia Wilde from a screenplay by Katie Silberman, based on a story by Carey Van Dyke, Shane Van Dyke, and Silberman. It features an ensemble cast that includes Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Wilde, Gemma Chan, KiKi Layne, Nick Kroll, and Chris Pine. In the film, a young wife living in a 1950s company town begins to believe there is a sinister secret being kept from her by the man who runs it.