'Gaslighting' isn't the most worrying thing: 'Don't Worry Darling' review

Kristofer Purnell - Philstar.com
'Gaslighting' isn't the most worrying thing: 'Don't Worry Darling' review
Florence Pugh and Harry Styles in "Don't Worry Darling"
Warner Bros. Entertainment

MANILA, Philippines — The drama from the production all the way to the premiere and promotion of "Don't Worry Darling" seems to upstage all the startling points made in Olivia Wilde's sophomore film.

"Don't Worry Darling" follows Florence Pugh's Alice and Harry Styles' Jack, a married couple residing in the 1950s town of Victory, happily enjoying their lives —  until Alice begins to notice the so-called perfection beginning to unravel.

It should come as no surprise that Pugh absolutely shines in another role where her character is being gaslit like her breakout role in "Midsommar," only this time she stands her ground more firmly and acts with more urgency. 

Because of his still-growing talent, Styles' performance comes off as amateur whenever he is opposite Pugh or Chris Pine's Frank, whose cultish demeanor masks his devilish good looks.

But it can't be denied that Styles has charm; he certainly looks the part and does well in one scene where he is prompted to tap dance in public. Still, it is a tense scene involving Pugh and Pine that sets the bar way too high for the film.

"Don't Worry Darling" also does well in perfectly setting a 1950s town thanks to production design by Katie Byron, costumes by Arianne Phillips, and brightly warm cinematography by Filipino-American director of photography Matthew Libatique.

Related: Did Harry Styles spit on Chris Pine at 'Don't Worry Darling' premiere?

However, appearances can only do so much in a film billed as a psychological thriller that attempts to tear down the patriarchy yet falls flat because of its execution and even more dire conclusion.

Men go to work in an unknown location while the women stay home, shop, lounge around, do ballet, and tend to their husbands  — a so-called perfect life that repeats every day.

Key factors in the movie is maintaining control away from chaos, but Wilde — who also stars in her film — leans more in chaotic territory as seen through misjudged editing, rushed storytelling and forceful music.

An alleged off-camera feud between Wilde and Pugh, replacing Shia LaBeouf with Styles, and the viral "Spitgate" will either taint or intensify the urge to see this film. On the flip side, these could be the unexpected promotions it needs.

"Don't Worry Darling" has more appealing looks than appealing words, but no doubt post-movie conversation will be interesting, regardless of which drama there is to be discussed.

"Don't Worry Darling" premieres in Philippine cinemas on September 28.

RELATED: 'Transformers' star Shia LaBeouf transforms into Catholic after portraying Padre Pio

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