Amidst split reviews, Belmont University’s motion pictures students voice their thoughts on pop culture’s latest film obsession, “Don’t Worry Darling.”
Olivia Wilde’s sophomore directorial project is a psychological thriller laced with colorful cinematography and an idealized American domestic dream.
Controversy and celebrity gossip has followed the film since its inception, with early rumors surrounding pop star Harry Styles replacing Shia LaBeouf, the ongoing romantic relationship between Styles and Wilde and Florence Pugh’s evident absence from press events.
Oh, and let’s not forget the rumor that Harry Styles may or may not have spit on Chris Pine.
Early professional reviews of the movie sparked concern as the film debuted with a 38% score from critics on Rotten Tomatoes; but since its public debut on Sept. 23, the general audience’s reactions have been mixed.
Over the past couple of weeks, Belmont students have been eager to see for themselves if they love the film or if the celebrity drama surrounding it outshines it.
“I went into it expecting it to be terrible because that’s what everybody was saying,” motion pictures major Ava Cavasos said, “I was ultimately drawn to it because Harry Styles is hot, Florence Pugh is hot and I like movies. I was so excited to talk crap about it and why it sucks, but then I liked it! It was good. I was really surprised!”
Cavasos said her favorite aspect of the film was its cinematography,
“I thought it was very visually appealing. I was very surprised because that’s a very hard thing to make cohesive throughout a movie,” she said.
Both Caleb Wood and Paige Richards, also motion pictures majors, had similar experiences.
“I went into the movie thinking it wasn’t going to be good since a lot of people said it wasn’t, but I actually thought it was pretty good,” said Wood.
Unlike Wood and Cavasos, Richards tried to dismiss preconceived judgement going into the film.
“I tried to not get a lot of information before seeing it,” Richards said. “I had heard the stuff about Harry’s acting and that some people didn’t like the ending, but I honestly loved the ending. I think, from a film perspective, they couldn’t have ended it any other way without it being unnecessary. I didn’t have huge expectations going into it, but I really liked how it messed with your head.”
Richards said the writing was the strongest component of the film because she never saw the end coming.
Since its premiere, many viewers have voiced confusion, extended fascination or frustration with the film’s unanswered questions.
“I’m a big fan of psychological thrillers, so I usually pick them apart,” said Cavasos, citing one of her favorites as Jordan Peele’s “Get Out.”
“This was kind of like a knock-off version of that movie because it had that twist ending that I didn’t see coming.”
More divisive discourse about the movie has orbited around Harry Styles’ acting. As his first major role in a motion picture, some students didn’t know what to expect from his performance.
But both Cavasos and Wood give him credit and said his acting was better than they expected it to be.
“I thought his acting was great in some parts, but in others, not as much. He could have done better with his accent,” Richards said. “I can’t blame Harry in all of that though because ultimately it is the director’s job to tell their actors what they want from them.”
The motion pictures students agreed with the consensus of many critics that Pugh’s performance drastically enhanced the film.
But would they watch it again? Debatable.
“If I did, I would wait a while,” Richards said, “There’s plenty of other mediocre movies, this one just has Harry Styles in it.”
This article was written by Evie Eikhoff