Where I Watched it: HBo MAX
Audio Description provided By: Deluxe
Narrated By: Laura Post
It is rare that I find myself thinking that Laura Post wasn’t the right voice for the film. But, Post, who thrives in describing Disney content, uses a rather upbeat voice for a rather dark psychological thriller. It’s like oil and water. Both are great separately, but together, they don’t mix.
However, the written narration here is something worth talking about. one of the things this narration succeeds in is with the description of the many dance sequences. Yes, there’s dance in this. Whoever wrote the script for the narration uses dance terminology, like referring to certain positions, as well as the specific dance formations of a famous choreographer to highlight certain segments. So for those who are fluid in dance speak, and find themselves no longer able to see, this film will help fill that lost gap, instead of just trying to describe where the arms and legs are flailing about.
As far as the film, it’s the problematic one you’ve heard too much about already. The behind the scenes drama precedes your ability to enjoy the film. Wilde’s initial decision to cast Shia LaBeouf in the role now held by Harry Styles proved problematic when LaBeouf joined the parade of men taken out by the Me 2 movement. But, as LaBeouf apparently records all interactions, he had an embarrassing audio of Wilde telling LaBeouf she didn’t want him to quit, and Florence Pugh can basically shove it. Not a good look for Wilde. She won’t be winning any feminist awards, probably ever.
But that Florence Pugh she was so ready to discard is actually the saving grace of the film. She’s fantastic here, as a housewife slowly slipping into insanity in a dystopian community that promises perfection if you give absolute commitment. Her husband, played by Styles, works for the Victory project, a super secret thing led by Chris Pine’s charismatic director.
Other people are in this film, including Wilde, but the writing on this does nothing to really flesh out the supporting cast. Pine barely has a role. Most of the film is Pugh reacting to things, having nightmares, having sex with her husband,and investigating what is going on in this film.
The third act is where Wilde reminds us that she had some purpose in mind when directing this project, and an unexpected new piece of information is given to us, and it just enriches the film and Pugh’s character even more. Some people have been really down on this film, and it is very flawed. Styles is not a good actor. He has some really weird line readings here, but I appreciate that he is swinging for the fences by taking on hard projects instead of fluffy romantic comedies. It shows that he wants to grow, but he is so dwarfed by Pugh it’s pathetic.
The supporting cast is written so poorly that when they come in and out, it’s hard to care. Well known names like Nick Kroll and Gemma Chan are basically just background. While the sequences are well described, the film never makes sense of why dance is so damn important. Why is it the one thing all the ladies do? Why dance?
But, at the end, Pugh gives one of the year’s best performances, and the third act is a doozy. I’ll be the asshole that says that this film would have been better with LaBeouf in the role. However, considering what is required of the role, Pugh is absolutely right to have someone she’s comfortable with doing those things.Even the worlds best intimacy coordinator couldn’t have made her feel Ok with having Shia’s head between her legs.
My quirky end to this is to say, don’t worry, this film isn’t as bad as you might think. I actually really liked parts of it. ANd I suspect had there never been a scandal, or Styles spitting on co-stars, that more people would be motivated to like it. It’s imperfect, but it also is daring to break a mold, and have its own voice, and by the end, I respected the hell out of that.
Final Grade: B-
One thought on “Don’t Worry darling”
Skipped it at the theatre, but I am looking forward to watching it soon, regardless of all that “drama” around its creation.