We’re Worried Darling: “Don’t Worry Darling” Served Hidden Meanings


Olivia Wilde’s highly-anticipated sophomore film and psychological thriller, “Don’t Worry Darling,” premiered Sept. 23. Like any psychological thriller, this movie has hidden meanings and plot holes that make the audience look far beyond the plot for some answers upon an open-ended conclusion. 

Jack and Alice Chambers, the lead characters of the film, are among several couples living in the Victory Project. The men leave every day to go work, while the wives are expected to stay home cooking and cleaning. As Alice begins to sense that something is wrong, she urgently tries to figure out what could be happening. When she ends up going too far and venturing to the headquarters, her reality starts to become clearer and her perfect world is shattered. 

One of the components viewers are analyzing heavily are the characters’ names. Harry Styles portrays Jack Chambers and Florence Pugh portrays Alice Chambers, which fans online think could be a reference to the rabbit and titular character in “Alice in Wonderland.” Olivia Wilde’s character, Bunny, could be linked to this as well. “Alice in Wonderland” is about a young girl falling down a rabbit hole and appearing in a magical world, which some say could symbolize Jack and Alice’s journey in the simulation.

There are several plot holes in the movie noted by audiences, but the most popularly contested are the red planes and the earthquakes that take place in The Victory Project, the perfect, falsified universe in the film. On TikTok especially, users are posting lengthy videos facilitating in depth discussions of their theories on these plot elements. 

Some other users also note how Margaret, Alice’s good friend also trapped in the simulation, was one of the few characters to question their reality. The red planes are rumored to be a representation of the pair’s subconscious minds urging them to leave. As for the earthquakes, TikTok users either believe they are an effect of all the men leaving at once, or it is simply the characters’ physical bodies shifting positions in the real world. 

Gaslighting is a theme present throughout the movie, as Alice is told she is going crazy anytime she brings up her experiences. Even when confiding in her good friend Bunny that she believes Frank (the society’s leader, played by Chris Pine) is lying to them, she is continually shut down.  The dinner scene in which Alice explains to the guests what she knows is happening particularly resonated with women in the audience.

Wilde portrays just how toxic the patriarchy has become in the real lives of women. It was the men who chose to enroll in the simulation, and the men who decided  who would be their spouse. At the end of the movie, Jack explains to Alice that he placed them in Victory to give Alice a better life and to make her happy; not realizing that Alice was never unhappy in the real world. 

Many viewers have compared Frank to Andrew Tate, a popular social media persona  who has created his platform speaking out against women’s rights. This connection comes from the strongly persuasive voice used to convince vulnerable men to participate in destructive behavior. Jack is shown listening to a recording of Frank speaking about Victory and his visions for what it can bring. And people can only speculate if  most of the other men in the simulation were influenced in the same way. This comparison is pretty accurate as Andrew Tate’s podcast employs the same tactics. It is no coincidence that the movie is set in the 1950’s where women had few rights. Frank has obviously negative views on women and their role in society.

Although the film itself was praised for its cinematography, there was public controversy at the  time the film was released. There was a great amount of debate online regarding Florence Pugh and Olivia Wilde’s feud. Shia LaBeouf, who was meant to play Jack Chambers before Harry Styles, released a video of Olivia Wilde begging him to come back before he quit. In this video, Wilde says that “this will be a wake-up call for Miss Flo” after Florence Pugh expressed discomfort in working with Shia LaBeouf. It is rumored that Pugh and Wilde got into a heated argument afterward, which was taken to the boss of Warner Brothers, and there, Florence decided she would not be participating in any press for the movie. It is also rumored that it was not just Pugh who was upset with Wilde, but the whole crew. The drama was finished out with Kiki Layne (Margaret) and Ari’el Stachel (Ted) having most of their scenes cut from the movie, with an Instagram post from Layne herself being offered as proof. And a smaller, false accusation of Styles spitting on Pine at the Venice Film Festival.

While the drama surrounding it turned many fans off from watching the film, it was a beautifully creepy movie with all the perks of a psychological thriller. Watching the amazing performances of Florence Pugh and Harry Styles in “Don’t Worry Darling” on the big screen is well worth the price of admission.