Don’t Worry Darling, the acclaimed film Library director Olivia Wildemade his debut at the Venice Film Festival In Monday.
It’s a film mired in controversy, making headlines for the wrong reasons, with rumors of bitter on-set rifts between Wilde and the film’s star. Florence Poug. But before we dive into all that, here’s everything you need to know about the movie itself.
What about the drama among the actors?
Where to start? Don’t Worry Darling is a film mired in controversy, from many angles. Let’s start with Shia LaBeouf.
LaBeouf was initially cast as lead character Jack Chambers, but was quickly fired by Wilde and replaced by pop star Harry Styles after reporting clashes on set.
Wilde discussed LaBeouf in a Variety profile.
“His process was not conducive to the philosophy that I demand in my productions,” Wilde explained. “He has a process that in some ways seems to require combative energy, and I personally don’t think that’s conducive to the best performance. I think creating a safe and trusting environment is the best way to bring people to do their best.”
LaBeouf in turn claims that he was not fired, but resigned, and sent a video message to Variety de Wilde where she appears to be asking LaBeouf to come back on set because she wasn’t “ready to give up yet”.
In the message, Wilde seems to refer to a conflict with Pugh:
“You know, I think this might be a bit of a wake-up call for Miss Flo,” Wilde says in the video, “and I want to know if you guys are willing to give it a shot with me, with us. really commit, if she really puts her mind and heart into it at this point and if you can make peace — and I respect your point of view, I respect hers — but if you can do it, what do you do think?”
This led to people online talking about a rumored rift between Wilde and Pugh. There are thousands of tweets and wide discourse online with fans analyzing and agonizing over social media posts, body language in group shots and eye contact (or lack thereof). Wilde was asked about the rumored breakup at a press conference for Don’t Worry Darling before its screening at the Venice Film Festival.
“I can’t say enough how honored I am to have him as my leader,” Wilde said. “She’s amazing in the movie and as with all the endless tabloid gossip and all the noise that’s going around, I mean the internet feeds itself. I don’t feel the need to contribute, I think that’s enough well fed.”
‘Spitgate’ is drooling over the internet
But on Monday, the internet went wild over all the interactions between the cast members at the Venice Film Festival press conference and screening of the film. People are debating the smallest interaction between the film’s stars, from seating order to reactions to questions at the press conference. Social media is crashing over a crazy theory: Harry Styles secretly spat on his co-star, Chris Pine, before the film was screened at the film festival.
People go through this short footage with a fine-toothed comb. After careful consideration, I’m absolutely of the opinion that Styles didn’t spit on Pine because that would be insane. And on Tuesday, a rep for Pine called the brooch saga “a complete fabrication and the result of a bizarre online illusion that is clearly misleading and allows for foolish speculation.” In a statement provided to personsthe rep added that “there is nothing but respect between these two men and any suggestion to the contrary is a blatant attempt to create drama that simply does not exist.”
There are other elements to the story. A relationship between Styles and Wilde reportedly began while filming Don’t Worry Darling. Wilde was previously married to Ted Lasso star Jason Sudeikis and was recently served what would be custody documents live on stage at Cinema-Con in Las Vegas.
What is Don’t Worry Darling about?
Don’t Worry Darling is a psychological thriller set in the 1950s. Jack Chambers (played by mega-popular singer Harry Styles) lives with his wife Alice (played by Pugh) in a company town in California. A mystery plays out when Alice begins to investigate the company her husband works for. His investigation of the company’s “Project Victory” begins to tear at the fabric of their happy lives.
When can I watch Don’t Worry Darling?
Don’t Worry Darling just debuted at the Venice Film Festival, but won’t be available in the US until September 23.
What are the critics saying about the film?
Early reviews for the film have been mixed so far. At the time of writing, the film sits at 39% on Rotten Tomatoes and 49 on CNET’s sister site Metacritic. These are low scores, especially since Wilde’s debut film Booksmart, released in 2019, was universally adored by critics.
Most critics seem to consider the film a bit undercooked. Reviewer Hannah Strong called it “pretty rote and unimaginative”, and Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times said its failure was “mostly a problem with the imagination”.
It should be noted, however, that the film received a standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival and Florence Pugh’s performance in the film was highly praised by critics and those who watched the film at the festival.