'Don't Worry Darling' Is A Stinker And Harry Styles May Be To Blame
Last night I saw a movie that all of you have heard about non-stop this last month, 'Don't Worry Darling'. And while it has been impossible to avoid the media typhoon around it, but here is a quick mini-recap if you haven't been following along.
Originally, Shia LaBeouf was supposed to play the Harry Styles role. He left the movie a little bit before he was sued by his ex-girlfriend for assault and sexual battery. Olivia Wilde said she fired him because he was combative.
As someone who is such an admirer of his work, [LaBeouf's] process was not conducive to the ethos that I demand in my productions. He has a process that, in some ways, seems to require a combative energy, and I don't personally believe that is conducive to the best performances. I believe that creating a safe, trusting environment is the best way to get people to do their best work. Ultimately, my responsibility is to the production and to the cast to protect them. That was my job
This was later outed as a lie when Shia released this video.
In addition, it was reported that Florence Pugh and Olivia Wilde clashed on set a LOT. Supposedly this was in part because Olivia Wilde was committing a very open affair with Harry Styles right on set. The reports seem valid since Pugh has done no press or promotion for the movie at ALL. At the Venice Film festival, she didn't attend the movie's panel, citing scheduling conflicts. Meanwhile…
There were also some clips that went around like the one where it looked like Styles spit on Chris Pine. I don't think that is true but it has been very obvious that Pine wants NOTHING to do with this movie.
So, yea, it's a catastrophe. Anyway, I had this stuff in the back of my mind but wasn't too worried. Sometimes really messy and combative productions can lead to incredible movies. This was not one of those times.
'Don't Worry Darling' falls into my least favorite subcategory of movies: The ones that THINK they are way smarter than they actually are. It's so clear throughout that Wilde & co. really think they did something special when, in reality, it is a painfully cliche movie that's only redeeming quality is that it is nice to look at.
Let's start on the acting side. Pugh is obviously the star and has the best performance in the movie by a country mile. I also think this was maybe her career-worst performance but, for her, that is like she just got a 95 on a test. It may be her worst, but it would be the best for 99% of actors. Almost every other person in this movie is TERRIBLY miscast. Harry styles is the square peg to his role's round hole. On top of that, he had a BRUTAL performance in a stand-out way. What made it worse for him is that almost all his scenes were opposite Pugh. It's basically like watching Mike Tyson fight a baby. Chris Pine was solid from a performance aspect but also did not fit the type of antagonist this movie needed. Lastly, I'm not sure any actor stood out against the grain more than Nick Kroll. He wasn't bad and comedy actors can obviously have range but he just didn't fit.
Something that made the Pugh-Styles combo worse is that the two had ZERO chemistry. Their pairing was so inorganic the point that their "loving" scenes made me physically cringe. There are moments where they are making out where they look like 2 aliens trying to mimic what humans look like. YUCK.
On the technical side, this is a gorgeous movie without a doubt. The houses, the cars, the people and the Palm Springs-ish setting were all objectively beautiful. There were some cool ass shots that make the bore of this movie even more frustrating. However, it is essentially a thrill-less thriller with twists and turns that are very easy to predict for anyone that has watched any major movies over the last 2 decades. It combines elements of those with messaging that is about as subtle as a brick to the fucking face.
It's just not a good movie. It's not offensively bad or even laughably bad but just stinky and extremely frustrating. Imagine you see the world's coolest looking Lamborghini. STUNNING to look at. You walk up to it and go to open one of those cool-ass doors. When you do, you realized the car is filled to the brim with baked beans. They pour out and you realize the interior is gutted, there is no engine and the radio only plays Jason Mraz. That is the experience of 'Don't Worry Darling'.
I'm going to save my rating for when we review it on the pod.