- MJ Carter
I Am Worried, Darling
Last evening, I saw director Olivia Wilde's film, Don't Worry, Darling. I'll admit it took a while to decide to watch it. It was the fast pitch, 'A 1950s housewife (Florence Pugh) living with her husband (Harry Styles) in a utopian experimental community begins to worry that his glamorous company may be hiding disturbing secrets' that initially kept me away. Housewives. Utopian. Companies with secrets. Meh. But I fell with love with Florence Pugh's abilities in Greta Gerwig's 2019 version of Little Women, so I settled in.
I'll admit that, as a writer and stage director, my brain absorbs differently. I embrace color schemes and lighting effects. I get fixated on the choreography of movement, or 'blocking' as it's called in technical terms. While I'm not a stickler, and don't go posting errors on IMDb, I study and applaud films for their attempts at historical accuracy. Most of all, I hone in on dialogue. The 'talk' is my favorite part of writing. If the actors appear to be speaking in character, I'm sold.
With the opening of Don't Worry, Darling, I could sense the set-up for a 'there's something really wrong here.' I found the discovery interesting. I was impressed with the work Wilde and her team created. And then, I read the reviews. Reverse spoiler: I did not read them before. Wow, wow, wow. There were hundreds of attacks on the story being merely a tired and tedious rehash of numerous and bygone films. Okay, I'm old enough to have been around for the original Stepford Wives. I thought it was hokey. But then again, I was too young at the time to grasp the 'male ego trip' side of it. I got it, this time.
But here's what hit home in reading those reviews. Maybe viewers - and readers - are tired of stories with twists. As a newbie writer, that revelation struck me. Twists in novel writing are hard to pull off. I've never liked it when the story I was reading seemed to get tossed out ten pages before the ending, and a whole new concept thrown in. Perhaps this is what happened for some in Don't Worry, Darling. As for me, I'd better catch up on all those bygone films I missed and, most of all, try to keep the 'tired and tedious' stuff out of my writing. That's worry enough.