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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The main message takes the form of a question: What would you sacrifice to live "the perfect life"? And would you sacrifice "the perfect life" if you thought it was corrupt?
Positive Role Models
Alice is a critical thinker whose curious mind is unable to sweep things under the carpet. She's brave enough to speak truth to power, even if the personal cost is high. Jack is a loving husband, and he and Alice are a team, something that wasn't always the norm in the 1950s and '60s.
Female-forward storytelling with women behind the camera as well as in front. Sex-positive perspective. Most of the primary characters are White, but there are actors of color in the supporting cast, and the character who sets the plot into motion is Black; however, she's initially portrayed as being emotionally disturbed.
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Violence & Scariness
Knives used to cut or stab. Deep peril. Suicidal act shown in close up, with some blood. Blow to the head. A character has disturbing mental health "episodes."
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Extensive visual modeling of one character pleasuring another sexually. No sensitive body parts are shown, but a man's head and hand are shown between a woman's legs in the two respective scenes, and she exhibits a strong orgasmic reaction. Burlesque dancing. Brief glimpse of the side of a breast. White cotton nightgown is somewhat see-through.
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"F--k" is said a couple of times.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Frequent drinking in a fun, party atmosphere. Cigarette smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that because heartthrob Harry Styles stars in Don't Worry Darling, a thriller directed by and costarring Olivia Wilde, his tween and teen fans may be interested. But the film's very Stepford Wives-esque premise -- in a seemingly idyllic suburban 1950s town, the husbands all work at a mysterious company, while their wives work at being "perfect" wives -- isn't meant for kids. The couples in the town socialize daily, guzzling drinks and smoking cigarettes while looking fabulous (this is the Vogue version of the mid-20th century). While they don't include any graphic nudity, sex scenes between a married couple are intensely erotic, with a husband pleasuring his wife from start to (enthusiastic) finish. A suicidal act is shown in close-up, and one character experiences disturbing mental health "episodes." Other violence includes stabbings and someone being struck with a blunt object. The middle finger and "f--k" is said a couple of times. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Wistfully wonderful, Wilde's psychological thriller is mid-century marvelous -- so much so that it may work against its own purpose. Told from a female point of view, the film doesn't have a message so much as a driving question: What is the perfect life, and what would you sacrifice for it? When asked that, teens might have an instant reaction that's wrapped up in identity, independence, and a modern perspective. But Wilde's movie wraps up the patriarchal past inside a seductive package of pretty pencil dresses, poolside parties, and sisterly shopping sprees. Alice is enthusiastic about her life with Jack, and the wives of Victory embrace supporting their husbands through clean houses, delicious dinners, sexy morning goodbyes, and martinis after work. The allure of that lifestyle is necessary for the rest of the movie's plot to unwind, and while the idea of it isn't intact by the end, there may be more than a few younger viewers who are sold on the notion that being a housewife looks pretty great.
That aside, Don't Worry Darling is enthralling. Alice is a phenomenal character, and, as played by the talented Pugh, she has all the complexity of the female spirit. It doesn't seem coincidental that she shares her name with a famous literary character who's "curiouser and curiouser." When she sees a loose thread in the perfection of Victory, Alice just can't let it go. She knows she shouldn't pull on it, and she tries not to, knowing it may very well unravel everything she holds dear -- yet she must. Once she starts tugging, viewers fly into the spiral of confusion with her, and when her answers come, it's in the form of a shocker that will hold up in cinematic history. For parents focused on raising active, critical teen thinkers, this Alice is worth following into the rabbit hole.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.