There’s no denying Olivia Wilde can direct the hell out of a movie. And with her latest behind-the-camera effort, “Don’t Worry Darling,” the actress turned filmmaker constructs a sexy and suspenseful thriller.
It’s a film that should resonate with moviegoers, who may show up to check out an easy-on-the-eyes ensemble that includes Florence Pugh, Harry Styles and Chris Pine. At the very least, it’s a film that will continue to generate plenty of chatter (there’s already a ton of pre-release headlines being made, some of them even about the movie itself). However, like most popcorn thrillers, the chances of the Academy checking the film off on their ballots is as farfetched as the movie’s attempt to make Harry Styles look unattractive in one critical scene. Nice try, but I don’t buy it.
The end product is a smorgasbord of high octane thrillers, similar to “Gone Girl” (2014), which landed a single nom for its leading actress Rosamund Pike. Pugh, a previous nominee for “Little Women,” has the showiest role as a suburban wife who begins to doubt her reality, and and there will champions for her, but the script’s shortcomings will keep her on the outside looking in.
Any Oscar love is likely to come for Arianne Phillips’s glamorous costumes and cinematographer Matthew Libatique’s sensuous framing. But even those seem like heavy lifts for Warner Bros., the studio behind the movie.
The ensemble is full of talented performers and A-list stars. Pine executes the best work of the supporting cast as a mysterious guru-like figure, while Styles shows he can act. However, if Styles finds a pathway for awards recognition, it’s more likely for his understated turn in “My Policeman” from Amazon Studios, depending on his category placement.
And Wilde doesn’t just show she’s the real deal as a director. She reminds viewers that she’s a great actress when given the right role. As a cocktail-swilling neighbor with some dark secrets of her own, Wilde has a few knockout scenes. She’s not going to get nominated, but it’s great to see her return to form after her ignored work in “Meadowland.”
Bottom line: you can cross “Don’t Worry Darling” off your Oscar lists.
Read Variety’s Awards Circuit predictions to keep up with the latest Oscar race updates.