The First ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ Reviews Aren’t Nearly As Captivated By The Film As All Of That Off-Screen Drama

At this point Don’t Worry Darling is best known for a seemingly endless parade of off-screen drama that started with director Olivia Wilde entering into a relationship with Harry Styles (while possibly still with Jason Sudeikis) and culminated in a messy display at the Venice Film Festival where Styles may or may not have spit on Chris Pine after Wilde avoided commenting upon a rumored feud between herself and Florence Pugh, which may or not have to do with Shia LaBeouf unveiling a ton of receipts that prove he was never fired. And that’s just the highlights!

But setting aside the heaping mountain of drama, is the movie actually good? Does Don’t Worry Darling transcend everything that’s happening with its stars and directors? The answer: Not so much.

Don’t Worry Darling is receiving tepid reviews, but all with a common theme: Pugh and Pine are stellar in what’s otherwise a pretty mediocre film. Also, it’s nearly impossible to read a single review that doesn’t mention the off-screen chaos, but we did our best to zero in on what the critics are saying about the film itself:

Kate Erbland, IndieWire:

[The plot twist is] disingenuous, easy, cheeky — much like the film itself, which starts off strong before crumbling into baffling storytelling choices made worse by the revolting intentions behind them. More frustrating is that the film also offers stunning craft work, a wonderfully immersive quality, and one of star Florence Pugh’s best performances yet. Too bad about the rest of it.

Pete Hammond, Deadline:

On its own terms Don’t Worry Darling is actually quite entertaining if you’re in the mood, even if Wilde’s candy-coated psychological thriller doesn’t rewrite the rules of the genre in any significant way. It is sort of a cross between Get Out, The Stepford Wives and Rosemary’s Baby with a ’50s swinging Rat Pack vibe thrown in for good measure.

Steph Green, BBC:

Olivia Wilde’s second stint in the director’s chair holds a stiletto to the throat of 1950s optimism, taking the plastic off the metaphorical sofa to expose the dangers of deifying an era where women are second-class citizens. The issue with Don’t Worry Darling, however, is that it is frequently rudimentary and repetitious – hammering home the same basic point about gender politics while a dulled supporting cast fails to add much colour to the story’s margins.

Owen Gleiberman, Variety:

Between the pop ambition, the tasty dream visuals, and the presence of Harry Styles in his first lead role, “Don’t Worry Darling” should have no trouble finding an audience. But the movie takes you on a ride that gets progressively less scintillating as it goes along.

Brian Truitt, USA Today:

Pugh, like she’s done with “Black Widow,” “Midsommar” and others, continues to make everything she’s in better – and, boy howdy, it’s needed here as the plot grows more convoluted. She takes Alice from ever-doting to paranoid conspiracy theorist and back again, making both happiness and terror feel impressively authentic in a waxwork world.

David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter:

The high-concept, low-satisfaction psychological thriller marks an ambitious upgrade in scope for Wilde from the character-driven coming-of-age comedy of Booksmart, and she handles the physical aspects of the project with assurance. It’s just a shame all the effort has gone into a script without much of that 2019 debut’s disarming freshness.

Marlow Stern, The Daily Beast:

Don’t Worry Darling is more than anything a showcase for Pugh who, as in her previous Midsommar, has mastered the art of embodying gaslit women who slowly unravel. She captures Alice’s torment and rebellion with gusto, as in a scene—arguably the best in the film—where she goes toe-to-toe with Pine at a dinner party. It is unfortunate, then, that Styles struggles to match her go-for-broke intensity.

Brian Formo, Collider:

Don’t Worry Darling is best as a surface-level matinée thriller with a few follow-up ahas. But it doesn’t sting like it should in the end. Darling chooses to girlboss when it could’ve sucker punched. But it’s still way more watchable than many terminally online people already believe it to be.

Don’t Worry Darling opens in theaters on September 23.