Movie Review: Don’t Worry Darling

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.

Movie Review: Black Widow

For the new movie “Black Widow” I would have liked to have much more background and setup explaining how this “Black Widow Family” has powers where it seems they cannot really be hurt or killed, at least not very easily. Where do they get their fantastic martial arts skills? Early on the two girls in the family; Natashia played by Scarlett Johansson and Yelena, played by Florence Pugh are placed into some kind of a spy training camp for unknown reasons at very young ages. At this point it would have been logical to see some of this training, explaining some of their impressive skills. Maybe this important part was cut out of the film because it was too long.

What is explained is a foreign spy syndicate that is involved with mind control to train young women to be spies and killers using brain washing chemicals. Unfortunately, the ending is completely out of sync with the sudden appearance of a far into the future huge space ship at the end of this film. This ship looks like something that might be built 100 or 200 years from now, definitely not present day. This is yet another example of special effects over story, almost as if an incredible idea for a fantastic ending with explosions, fights and action on a space ship had to be melded with a present day spy story and as a result we have a time-line that once again makes absolutely no sense.

The special effects and acting in this movie is very good, with a standout performance from Florence Pugh who is becoming a very well known actress who has a perfect face for the movies. With all of that in mind, why Florence Pugh has not changed her last name is about as mysterious as a good part of this screenplay.

David Harbour plays Alexi the girl’s father along with Rachel Weisz who plays Melina, their mother and in my opinion that twist at the end of this story, involving Melina and Natashia, has trouble making enough sense to round out the ending.

The Rotten Tomatoes ratings for this movie is in the low 80% range and I mostly agree with this rating and do recommend Black Widow.