Somewhere around when TikTok videos were analyzing, with the intensity of the Zapruder film, whether spit flew at the Venice Film Festival premiere of Olivia Wilde's “Don't Worry Darling,” it became clear that the melodrama of the movie's promotional tour had easily eclipsed the movie, itself.
The tabloid frenzy that engulfed “Don't Worry Darling” was so public, so out in the open that it quickly passed into something kind of exhausting. I would definitely rather re-watch “Don't Worry Darling” the movie than replay that media storm. But in some ways, the on-screen and off-screen dramas go hand-in-hand. Like that fraught Venice debut, Wilde's movie, set in a Palm Springs fantasy world, brings together beautiful faces in a sunny, fashionable locale with the possibility of sinister doings afoot.
“Don't Worry Darling,” which opens in theaters Friday, takes a kind of “Stepford Wives” or “Truman Show” concept and reorients it with a potent #MeToo lens. All the ingredients are here for a powerful dystopic drama: Wilde, an ascendant filmmaker coming off her terrific debut, the 2019 teen comedy “Booksmart"; Florence Pugh, one of the most electric young actors working in film today; Harry Style's pop presence; and some sensational mid-century modern production design thanks to Richard Neutra's Kaufmann Desert House.