Don’t Worry Darling, directed by Olivia Wilde, is the event film of this year’s Venice Film Festival. The reason is not strictly cinematic, but linked to the media exposure of its protagonist, Harry Styles, a star highly anticipated by young people in the lagoon.
Leaving aside all the gossip that revolves around a film whose cast, between relationships, disputes and denials is generating clickbait titles in half the world, we give the only news worthy of note: the work, presented out of competition, is intriguing and of a certain depth.
The protagonists, Alice (Florence Pugh) and Jack (Harry Styles), are husband and wife. Attractive and in love, they live together with other couples like theirs in one idyllic community, Victory, a postcard microcosm in which there are no problems whatsoever. It is an experimental city, a protected bubble beyond which the desert extends. Every morning the men go to work on a top secret project under the employ of Frank (Chris Pine), the creator of Victory. The wives, all friends of each other, stay at home to take care of the house before going shopping or other recreational activities together. Here everyone has achieved what seems to be an ideal life: economic ease, the love of life next door and a solid future. At some point, however, Alice begins to have gods mnemonic flashes which will lead her to suspect that she is living a lie.
“Don’t worry darling” is a psychological thriller which not only stages the social optimism of the 1950s and 1960s, but also the aesthetics of that period. He remembers in some ways the social structure of other films, from “The Truman show” to “Suburbicon” and “Pleasentville”. The American iconography of a pastel era in which to live “happy days” fits perfectly for those who, like the project leader, want educate to order and to supreme precision his subordinates. While he keeps men loyal through professional promotions, his wife (Gemma Chan) instructs wives on how much beauty there is in control and grace in symmetry.
The visionary Frank expresses himself as if he were in possession of a messianic wisdom. He makes the comfort zone attractive to his fellow citizens and tells them that together they can change the world right from that Eden in the desert. “Don’t Worry Darling” shows how language is a weapon and how promises and material benefits are instruments of control. More than abolish chaosthe demiurge of the film intends through them to crush free will.
The woman here feels joy in cheering the warrior’s rest. To think that this is the description of happiness born from an exclusively male sensibility would be wrong, the film will prove it. Maybe dolling up and expressing oneself in the art of appetizers will not be everything, but the idea of not being autonomous and of existing as appendix of husband and children it can however be an aspiration for some (it was until not too long ago, after all).
What matters to the talented Olivia Wilde is not discussing what the ideal life is, it is evident that it is subjective. The point is that it is to impose one’s own idea of well-being on someone else by deception an abuse of power.
The hypothetical expulsion from the earthly paradise is looming when Alice chooses to violate the only rule imposed on those who live there. The novel Eve exposes itself, rather than to the knowledge of good and evil, to the awareness of what is real and what is not. Wilde plays a lot with certain feminine archetypesi, at some point we will see the Alice of this sui generis wonderland lose a slipper like Cinderella, just as she is separated from her prince.
The reassurance of the title underlines once more how there is to worry about when someone powerful does everything to make us believe that everything is fine. When everything seems perfect, it is then that we must ask ourselves what is hidden from view. When we are the object of reassurances too good to be true, let us ask ourselves if they are manipulating us to get us removed. uncomfortable awareness. Finally, we keep in mind that the induced oblivion of a whole series of information deprives us of the right to think for ourselves and to exercise the power of choice.
“Don’t Worry Darling” is a warning to recognize the rotten beyond the neat appearance, the coercion beyond the flattery and to remember that often aanomaly in the system it is a blessing as a spark of critical thinking.