“Don’t Worry Darling”: Olivia Wilde tries her hand at a female horror film without convincing


Preceded by a very vain hype (actress and director in bickering) but which will probably attract a few curious people to the cinema, Don’t Worry Darling is part of a rather confidential vein of American cinema, the “feminist horror”. To sum up: behind the postcard of the fulfilled and caring housewife, hides, most often, a sunny nightmare. We owe the writer Ira Levin (1929-2007) to have largely contributed to the genre with two of his novels: Rosemary’s Babyadapted in 1968 by Roman Polanski, then, less known, The Women of Stepford (1972), the story of an emancipated city girl who settles down with her family in a peaceful residential suburb where marital happiness like the smiles of the housewives seem to come straight from an assembly line.

Difficult to say more without deflowering the story, which we can taste in its various cinematographic adaptations: the very successful The Women of Stepford (1975), by Bryan Forbes, and the charming And man created woman (2004), by Frank Oz, with a tailor-made role for Nicole Kidman. It is this novel that comes to update Don’t Worry Darling, umpteenth proof that the fifties are, in the cinema, less a bygone era than a real playground whose poisonous beauty we will never finish exploring.

Daily millimeter

We are in the middle of the Californian desert, within a community of chosen ones who are chosen on a daily basis: every morning, after having swallowed their breakfast, the men leave for work while their wives are busy cheerfully in the domestic sphere, fluttering between dance classes and the swimming pool while waiting for the time to prepare dinner. All willingly obey a distribution of genres here synonymous with perfect harmony. But doubt gradually creeps into the mind of Alice Chambers (Florence Pugh), madly in love with her husband Jack (Harry Styles). Visions soon assail her, followed by a series of disturbing events of which she is the only witness and which leads her to think that, behind the perfection of her way of life, a deaf threat.

Then, the postcard is torn – the hiccups follow one another at a rhythm as gratuitous as it is aberrant. Sweeping away any idea of ​​verisimilitude and narrative finesse, Olivia Wilde is only eager for one thing: to take advantage of the flamboyance of her sets to compose beautiful images of horror that run on empty. And then, in passing, unfolding its opportunely feminist software thanks to an inept reversal that dulls and deteriorates the precise and paranoid beauty of the original story.

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“Don’t Worry Darling”: Olivia Wilde tries her hand at a female horror film without convincing