The new movie “Don’t Worry Darling” directed by Olivia Wilde has more to do with the marketing power of the Rotten Tomatoes Web Site than the story within this film. Over the years, Rotten Tomatoes has become so powerful, that its ratings can completely make or break the box office of any movie even before it is released. This is the case of Don’t Worry Darling which is nothing more than a combination clone of both “The Stepford Wives” and “The Matrix”. Unfortunately, originality does not come from combining two other ideas that are original and then expecting anyone will think that a “combination of 2 great story ideas” will also be considered original. In my experience, most audiences do not like any movie or TV show that they view as a rip-off. Originality and quality are what sell, not playing the odds of trying to capitalize on something that worked in the past.
Considering the money and time involved to produce a movie like Don’t Worry Darling – what happened with this film is that the producers knew that the critics on Rotten Tomatoes would be giving this movie a low 38% rating long before it was released, so the producers decided to put out manufactured news stories to try and save the box office. These stories included having one of the lead actors Harry Styles, supposedly spitting on Chris Pine. Other stories circulated about Olivia Wilde’s firing of Shia LaBeouf, who was originally hired for the Harry Styles role. There were other stories about conflicts between the director Olivia Wilde and Florence Pugh. We have seen this before, when producers are so desperate to save a movie that they insert last-minute nude scenes or create major news stories to save the box office of a newly released movie – mostly because of the low Rotten Tomatoes ratings. This also happened with Sylvestor Stallone’s recent movie on Amazon Prime, “Samaritan” which was released days after the announcement that Stallone would be getting a divorce from his wife Jennifer Flavin after 25 years. Some days ago, it looks like Stallone and Flavin may have reconciled. The problem with this strategy is that the public knows that this is a marketing ploy to get people to pay for a new movie that might not be any good.
Remarkably, this film is almost entirely told from the perspective of Alice Chambers, played by Florence Pugh. All of the other actors in this production have very small parts compared to Pugh, which I thought was a flaw in the overall screenplay. The problem with the convoluted concept of this story is that the ultimate payoff takes too long to be fully revealed and when it is fully revealed, some of the previous scenes in some cases do not hold water. The positive aspects are that Florence Pugh (despite her extremely unfortunate last name) is a big-time upcoming new star, who is a strong enough presence to carry this entire movie – despite its obvious flaws. She has an almost perfect movie star face, that deserves a better screenplay than this one. Other stars including Chris Pine and Harry Styles hold their own despite their relatively small presence within this story.
I agree with the low scores of 38% on Rotten Tomatoes and do not recommend this film.