No yolks — sorry, jokes — in this article as I came away so unsettled I had to anaesthetise myself by googling where I could buy Florence Pugh’s pinny.
This trailer at first looks like more of the same — more weird stuff, more threat, more empty eggs — but it’s also unnerving, and I’m more keen to watch the movie than I was.
Back in May I wrote this about our first introduction to the sinister but gorgeous world of Don’t Worry Darling —
“This looks like Stepford Wives crossed with suburbia horror Vivarium with a dash of Anna “The Love Witch” Biller’s frothy, kitsch Viva.”
— and that still stands up, but I think there must be more to the movie than a metaphor for brain dead wives so sedated by their perfect lifestyle they won’t question their lack of freedom (tranquillisers, known euphemistically as “mother’s little helper” were introduced to the American public in the mid-1950s).
Director Olivia Wilde is piling on the metaphors. Conformity: even the dazzled husbands’ pick up lines turn out to be identical. Women’s identity and autonomy, and particularly women’s anxiety, where Alice (Florence Pugh) literally can’t breathe: she wraps her face in cling film; finds herself panicking underwater; and when polishing their large picture window becomes trapped between that and the wall behind.
There’s obviously a big twist (I hope so anyway — it’s surely not *just* the sum of the movie parts it’s referencing). Perhaps it’s not happening in the ’50s at all, but is either a story about the perils of nostalgia — particularly for women — or even futurism.
Here, once more, is the very long synopsis:
Alice and Jack are lucky to be living in the idealised community of Victory, the experimental company town housing the men who work for the top-secret Victory Project and their families. The 1950s societal optimism espoused by their CEO, Frank — equal parts corporate visionary and motivational life coach — anchors every aspect of daily life in the tight-knit desert utopia. While the husbands spend every day inside the Victory Project Headquarters, working on the “development of progressive materials,” their wives, including Frank’s elegant partner, Shelley, get to spend their time enjoying the beauty, luxury and debauchery of their community. Life is perfect, with every resident’s needs met by the company. All they ask in return is discretion and unquestioning commitment to the Victory cause. But when cracks in their idyllic life begin to appear, exposing flashes of something much more sinister lurking beneath the attractive façade, Alice can’t help questioning exactly what they’re doing in Victory, and why. Just how much is Alice willing to lose to expose what’s really going on in this paradise?
Also that title — should it have a comma, or is it an instruction to the men of Victory not to worry their interchangeable wives?
Don’t Worry Darling will be released in the UK on 23 September 2022. Co-starring with Pugh and Harry Styles are Olivia Wilde, Gemma Chan, KiKi Layne and Chris Pine.
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