Her first film was Booksmart,Her second title should have been Mediasmart. Instead it’s Don’t Worry Darling, and it’s been a worry from the outset.
Olivia Wilde, the filmmaker/movie star, was born with instant access to media savvy thanks to her accomplished parents — feminist Mom was a congressional candidate, Dad a gifted novelist. But Don’t Worry DarlingIt had its problems from the beginning. Its plot and promotion seemed too ambitious. The release was inextricably tied to Venice Film Festival’s arty fare, fussy critics, and inconceivably its release.
This happened after casting disputes in preproduction and post-production flaky antics. Wilde’s BooksmartIt was clever and fun. Be Worried It was a marriage The Truman ShowTo Stepford WivesAn uneasy connection.
There was intense media attention. Wilde could be the next Elaine May if it all worked. Or Don’t Worry Be her Ishtar?
The opening box office numbers have been promising – almost $20 million in the U.S. with a 66% female audience, half under 25. If Don’t WorryIf the hit were to be a smash, would it disprove the notion that only Marvel subbrands have a chance of breaking the streamerville gloom?
A $35 million budget is possible Don’t WorryIt was the kind of independent film studios wanted to avoid. However, given its buzz, was it also destined to have wide viewing on its small-screen run?
The critics’ reception was complicated, but even NPR’s pedantic critics tentatively praised Wilde’s “authentic gift.”Others critics dismissed its third-act plot convulsions. But Harry Styles, the popstar co-star of the film, defended it. “It’s supposed to be a movie.”
Last weekend I decided to go see Don’t Worry Darling in its most favorable setting — a theater adjacent to the Palm Springs temples of modernism where it was shot.
The majority of ticket buyers were young and female and seemed optimistic about re-connecting to the overachievers. BooksmartInstead, Florence Pugh was introduced from Lady MacbethChris Pine Star TrekStyles, who was a member of the L.A. Forum not too long ago.
The plot of Don’t WorryThe females were to be elegant and subservient to the male automatons, who marched each day to their mysterious office. However, the actors were not playing all the roles. They were each portraying multiple characters in a Fellini-like parade. Only one scene shared was the black-and white synchronized dancing scene, which was perhaps intended to anchor the audience into a verifiable world.
“Who is Olivia Wilde trying to become?”Ask one of the young moviegoers during my screening. BooksmartMay’s flinty humor, whose reputation seemed a coalescence on, was suggested. A New LeafWalter Matthau
May agreed to Warren Beatty’s and Dustin Hoffman’s suggestion to make a movie about a dark road set in the Middle East. They were the stars of IshtarThey were played by lovable lounge singers, who turned out to be devious and narcissistic. The plot involved the CIA and a Mideast Revolution, which led to the confusion that cost them their laughs.
May, a sensitive performer who was involved in litigation at Paramount over editing issues and had a bad relationship with the media, could afford a big-name flop like Ishtar. She’d established a brilliant comedic presence working with Mike Nichols.
But Wilde‘s cinematic identity seems more ambiguous in the wake of Don’Do not Worry Darling — a confusion compounded by the Instagram ubiquity of her co-stars.
Although the social media hype may bring in the box office, it does not subtly affect the professional standing of filmmakers.