Was ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ supposed to highlight feminism?

Inside all the details and secrets of the new hit movie


Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP (AP news)

“Don’t Worry Darling” shocked and enthralled Harry Styles fans; the promise of seeing him on the big screen drew a great deal of attention to this movie. The real question, however, is this: did the film meet the lofty expectations set for it by fans and fulfill director Olivia Wilde’s appraisal of it, saying the film was supposed to be the “Feminism Mystique on acid”?

I would like to start by saying that I did find the movie enjoyable, despite some noticeable hiccups. The plot is confusing at first. It centers around Florence Pugh’s character Alice Chambers. She and her husband, Jack Chambers, played by Harry Styles, live in the town of Victory in the California desert. This lifestyle is defined by working husbands and obedient, stay-at-home wives. The women in this movie are meant to have ‘relaxing lives,’ reminiscent of traditional 1950s America, while their husbands stay out and work.

Every day Alice makes Jack breakfast, cleans around the house and goes out with some other ladies. However, Alice begins to have hallucinations that she and only one friend can see. These hallucinations begin because the women are starting to realize that the ‘seemingly perfect’ way of life that surrounds them is a simulation. Their shared hallucinations are a state of limbo between the simulation and real life. Unbeknownst to them, Alice and Jack’s bodies have been sitting in their apartment in real life. Jack supposedly leaves Victory every day for work, he comes back to the real world to take care of Alice’s body and make money, so that he might continue to live in the Victory simulation. 

The movie wants viewers to challenge societal norms for women. Unnatural imagery is featured often, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats: red planes crash, walls close in on characters and tremors rack the earth. I think that these events work to further the movie’s expression of its message: Alice is trying to escape this life, but by expressing discontent, she is deemed crazy and a threat to the ‘natural order’ of things. 


One thing that I cannot seem to agree with Olivia Wilde on is her stance that this is supposed to be a ‘feminist movie.’ While that may have been Wilde’s goal when creating the film, it is simply not a movie that promotes female empowerment. Focusing entirely on the suppression of women rather than spending any energy uplifting them, the film’s misogyny, while painted as ironic and subversive, fails at that goal. As Wilde tries to say, that is similar to “The Feminine Mystique” because it is supposed to point out the discontent that American women face. While that book had an upheaval reaction that sparked a new wave of feminism, Wilde did not portray that in her film. Instead, it came across that the film believes women should be doing what men tell them to do. Almost all of the women in the movie were brought into that life by the men, who wanted to give them the life they deserve. In reality, it comes across as degrading to make women seem helpless and crazy for realizing that something is going wrong.

As much as I love Harry Styles, his acting was nothing to write home about. I think that his interest in acting should be applauded. He showed a lot of improvement in his minor roles, as he had a lot of intense scenes in this movie that showed progress from his roles in “Dunkirk” and Marvel’s “Eternals.” I think this was a massive step for him if acting is something he wants to continue, and I look forward to watching his performance in “My Policeman,” as well as any other roles he might play in the future

Learning the truth about main character Alice’s situation alongside her is an absolutely thrilling experience. I was captivated by the slow-burn plot because it kept me wondering throughout the movie. I’ve now seen the movie twice, and only now do I think I understand most of the plot. Although the storytelling of “Don’t Worry Darling”  might turn off casual viewers, it’s well worth the deep dive. I fully agree that this psychological thriller kicked off the start of the long-awaited films coming in the latter-half of this year.