‘Don’t Worry Darling,’ We’ll Explain That Twisted Ending And What It All Means

Warning: spoilers for Don’t Worry Darling ahead.

Despite all of the bizarre drama surrounding the movie (we don’t have to get into that again) Don’t Worry Darling is still an interesting movie with some classic twists and turns that are mostly redeemed by Florence Pugh’s performance. The movie quietly appeared on HBO Max this week, so maybe you decided to sit down and watch it before realizing that it’s a little hard to follow. It’s okay! A lot of people thought that! So here is a quick explainer of what exactly went down on the screen (if you want off-screen drama, here you go).

The movie follows Jack and Alice, (portrayed by Harry Styles and Pugh) a young married couple who live a picturesque life in some 1950s-adjacent utopia known as The Victory Project, where the husbands work and the wives survive on gossip, sex, and martinis. Alice begins to worry about her neighbor friend Margaret who seems to think that The Victory Project is not as perfect as it appears, though her claims are quickly dismissed by the men in the community.

But things get even stranger for Alice, who begins to hallucinate various scenes in a past life, while being constantly gaslighted by the men in the neighborhood. It’s revealed that The Victory Project is actually a simulation that Jack forced her into so they could have “the perfect life.” Jack claims that he did it for her, though it’s also revealed that he is just a Regular Unemployed Millennial who listens to podcasts and does not have a British accent, so he is clearly not the perfect husband that he appeared to be. Instead, he has Alice hooked up to wires (the technology is…unclear) in order to get her to play into his fantasy. The movie plays out a bit like a Matrix situation, though without Keanu Reeves, so it’s just not quite as good and the imagery is a little muddled. Still, it was certainly a twist!

Alice’s friend Bunny (director Olivia Wilde) says that she knows the world is a simulation, though she stays there so she can reunite with her kids, who have died in the “real world.” Alice is determined to get out of the simulation, and eventually strangles her husband before gasping awake. And that’s…it. So what does it mean?

In the original ending, there is a newspaper clipping that shows Alice’s obituary, implying that Jack faked her death so that he could keep her away from her real life where she was a successful doctor. That bit was scrapped, so we don’t really know what happened between Jack and Alice in the “real” world.

It seems that Wilde was trying to make some sort of comment about abuse and relationships with controlling men, which is interesting since Shia LeBeouf was originally attached to star, though that clearly didn’t work out well. Wilde has since said that the Victory men are basically incels anyway, and the movie and its ending were supposed to highlight how dangerous they can be.

It’s unfortunate that the movie became overshadowed by, uh, a lot of stuff, because the movie definitely had some potential. Still, without Keanu Reeves, any type of simulation movie just feels empty!