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The Ending Of Don't Worry Darling Explained

This post contains spoilers for "Don't Worry Darling."

"Don't Worry Darling" invites viewers into a unique idyllic world where men go to work and women stay home to ensure the home is perfect when the men return. But of course, that world isn't what it seems and as the film goes on we learn that things are far more complicated and more sinister. Like many movies with conspiracies and cult-like groups, there are a lot of questions that viewers might have by the end of the movie, some of which the film answers in dialogue and some of which we have to do our best to explain to ourselves.

The fact that "Don't Worry Darling" ultimately reveals itself to be a sci-fi movie means that there is even more to unravel and think about after the credits roll. Some of the big questions about exactly what kind of science fiction story the film tells and what kind of world that traditional paradise is are answered, but there are lingering questions about how all of this functions, what it all means, and who (or what) all the characters really are.

So with all those questions, we thought we'd take a dive into the film and do our best to answer any questions that viewers are still grappling with after seeing the film. Below, we've explained answers to several questions that you might still have about the ending of "Don't Worry Darling."

Who is Alice?

Alice Chambers (Florence Pugh) is the lead of "Don't Worry Darling" who we focus on as she uncovers a sinister mystery behind the seemingly idyllic community where she and her husband Jack (Harry Styles) live. Like all the women in the community of the "Victory Project," she stays behind every day when her husband goes to work so that she can cook and clean and make sure the home is nice for him. Like the other women, she spends her free time drinking, gossiping, and shopping.

But when her friend Margaret (Kiki Layne) begins to unravel and tell anyone who will listen that their world is not what it seems, Alice starts to question things as well. And when she sees a plane crash in the desert outside the city, she investigates. She discovers a place that seems to hypnotize her, or rather break her from hypnosis. She later learns that she has been living in a simulation, and this housewife is not who she really is.

Before entering the simulation, Alice was a hardworking doctor and surgeon who loved her job. She wasn't always thrilled about long shifts at the hospital with short breaks between them, but she was proud of the decisions she had made in her life. And we can see that headstrong nature and that determination to forge her own destiny throughout the movie as she continues to dig deeper when others tell her nothing is wrong.

Who is Jack?

Jack is Alice's husband and a technical engineer at the Victory Project. He leaves for work every day and we have no idea what he does for the company that created this apparent paradise outside the bounds of regular society. He seems to love his wife and doesn't want anything bad to happen to her. When she begins to question their world, he is protective and worries about her behavior as she continues to push back against the accepted norms of their lives in the community. However, he also grows frustrated with her at times, especially when she makes public statements. 

Ultimately, he betrays her by turning her in, but we also learn that he betrayed her long before that when he decided to join the Victory Project in the first place. By doing so, he made a decision for himself and for her without any input from her, he decided that she would live in a simulation because it's what he wanted for himself, and he wanted her to be with him.

Jack is a villain, and arguably the villain, in "Don't Worry Darling" because he takes Alice's life that she created and chose away from her. He forced her into a simulated life as a housewife so that he could live in the fantasy world of the Victory Project. Unlike Alice, who we know is a doctor, we don't get any specifics about what kind of work Jack does in the real world, but we know that when he goes to work, he is actually leaving the simulation so that he can continue to pay to keep them there.

Who is Frank?

Frank (Chris Pine) is the creator of the Victory Project. The people in the community talk about him almost like a cult leader, and when he makes speeches to the community it's easy to see why. He talks about disrupting the status quo and changing the world. He talks about creating life as it should be in their community, with everyone doing their part. But there's something immediately off about him, the way that he exerts control over the people around him seems almost sadistic even when he's complimenting them.

He also is the only character in the film to support Alice in her questions. Unlike the others who tell her she is imagining things and that they should not question the "perfect" lives they lead, Frank pushes her to challenge him. It's somewhat strange at the moment, but it makes so much more sense when we learn that the Victory Project is something he created for men who wanted to escape the modern world.

Frank is a misogynist who pushes Alice to challenge him so that he can have the satisfaction of putting a woman in her place as it were. He is a cruel man who we never see outside the simulation, but that may be because he never leaves. As the founder of the Victory Project, he wouldn't have to leave to work to be able to pay to live there, so it's plausible — even likely — that he is a permanent resident of a simulated world that is built on exactly what he wants it to be.

Who is Bunny?

"Don't Worry Darling" director Olivia Wilde plays Bunny in the film. Bunny is Alice's best friend and next door neighbor. We see the two spend time together drinking, gossiping, and simply enjoying each other's company at the start of the movie. But when Alice begins to question their community and whether or not things are as they seem, Bunny turns on her.

Bunny doesn't want Alice, or anyone questioning their world, she is happy with her husband and their two children and tells Alice that she needs to stop digging and accept their lives as they are. At one point she even tells Frank that Alice is not well and is trying to find answers to questions she shouldn't be asking. This behavior from Bunny is entirely understandable for someone who is happy and doesn't want that happiness disrupted, even if it is at the expense of something potentially dangerous.

But when we learn that Bunny knows her life is part of a simulation, her resistance to Alice's questions and her betrayal of Alice to Frank makes even more sense. Bunny wants to live in this world (more on why in a moment), and she doesn't want her friend to leave or to bring it all crumbling down.

When does Don't Worry Darling take place?

The movie's gorgeous mid-century aesthetic that offers us glimpses of great architecture, cars, and clothes makes it seem at first that "Don't Worry Darling" takes place in the 1950s or early 1960s. But the way that people speak feels more modern than that, and when we learn that the community exists outside the status quo, it becomes clear that perhaps this movie takes place closer to our time than initially expected.

When it's revealed that the Victory Project community is a simulation, and we see flashbacks of Alice and Jack's life before they joined, things become more clear. We see Alice check a smartphone in these flashbacks, and Jack has a multi-monitor PC set up in their small apartment, so it's at least the present. The technology for a multi-participant simulated world isn't quite something that we've achieved yet, but the movie may well simply be positing that this is something that could be invented tomorrow. If not, it's easy to say that the movie takes place in the near future, where the world still overwhelmingly resembles our own, but there are some specific leaps technology has made.

What are the earthquakes?

The semi-regular earthquakes that rock the community around the Victory Project seem to have become such a normal part of life that no one really pays them much mind. But they certainly raise questions for the viewers and Alice once she begins to question what kind of work her husband and the other men in the community are doing every day. At first, it seems that perhaps the Victory Project is drilling or mining the earth around the community and thereby causing the quakes. When questions arise about whether the Victory Project is creating weapons, it seems possible that the quakes are the ripples of weapons testing. But when we learn that the world is a simulation, it's clear that those options are incorrect.

"Don't Worry Darling" never directly answers exactly what the quakes are, but one theory is that they are either system updates to the simulation program or minor glitches. The quakes don't break the simulation, and everyone can simply pick up their drink and make sure nothing glass falls off of tables quickly and then set everything back down to continue going about their day. But they do highlight something different from the outside world, so there must be a reason connected to the simulation for these quakes, and updates or slight glitches are the most likely culprits.

What is the Victory Project?

The Victory Project is the name of the company where all of the men in the movie work. The community that all the characters (men and women) inhabit is a community that has been created around the Victory Project. The women are never to ask the men what they do at work, and there are rumors about what exactly it may be. The official story is that the Victory Project is working on "the development of progressive materials," but the vagueness of that draws questions, as do the aforementioned earthquakes.

Eventually we learn that the Victory Project is in fact the name of the simulation that all of the characters exist in. It's a simulation created by Frank for men who are dissatisfied with their lives and want to live in a world that they find more suited to their desires. The idea of existing in a world where everything is more like what you want it to be is wonderful, but the sinister element is that each of these men bring women with them, women who have not chosen this life.

The men don't work for the Victory Project in the traditional sense of having jobs with the company that they get paid for, but they do work for the project in that they must leave the simulation to go work in the real world and pay for the pleasure of existing in the simulation.

Who are the men in red?

The men in red appear for the first time when Alice sees her friend Margaret die by suicide. They take Margaret's body away and bring Alice back home where she is checked on by the community doctor, Dr. Collins (Timothy Simons). We see them again when Jack betrays Alice, and the men in red drag her from the car so that she can be rehabilitated. Finally, the film's thrilling finale is a high-speed chase across the desert as Alice attempts to escape the simulation and the men in red attempt to stop her.

It's clear from the narrative that the men in red are the secret police of the Victory Project. They ensure that anyone who asks questions disappears and that no one who is not aligned with the project's goals leaves the simulation. They're very similar to agents in "The Matrix" franchise in that they keep everything the way it should be as dictated by those who created a simulation. A new question then arises though: What are the men in red?

Are they artificial intelligence bots that have been programmed to keep the Victory Project running no matter the cost, or are they employees who are real humans also living in the simulation? Some signs point to the latter. When they are chasing Alice through the desert, for example, Dr. Collins gets angry with them and yells at them: "You idiots!" It's certainly possible that Collins would call AI machines idiots, too, but his anger and the fact that he seems to feel that men in red are failing at a task suggests that these men are, in fact, human beings who have taken a job as security in the simulated world.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Who and what are the dancing women?

Like the men in red, it's not clear whether the dancing women who Alice sees in some flashbacks or blips of her mind breaking free of hypnosis are human or artificial intelligence. We could theorize that the images are just old footage used by the Victory Project in hypnosis for both men and women when they enter the simulation because the images of their dancing are beautiful and, well, hypnotic. But that doesn't hold up when one of the women appears at a party.

During the major party in the middle of the movie where Frank gives a speech and "promotes" Jack in the Victory Project, a beautiful woman does a dance and bathes herself in a giant cocktail glass, and Alice recognizes her. Flashbacks make it clear that Alice recognizes her from the images of the dancing women that sometimes appear before her eyes when her mind is breaking free from the hypnosis and simulation.

Perhaps the women are AI people who inhabit the simulation to do whatever Frank wants them to. It makes perfect sense that a power-loving misogynist would want to create non-human women that he can make do whatever he wants, including dancing for him at parties.

Why does Bunny stay if she knows it's fake?

When Alice learns that Bunny knows that the Victory Project is a simulation created for men to exist in a world where women are subjugated to them and simply stay home and make the house nice, her first question is why she chooses to stay. And Bunny's answer is devastating: Bunny chooses to live in the simulation because here her children are alive.

Her two children died in the real world, but here she has two kids that she loves and who love her, and who even love Alice. They aren't human, they're human-created artificial intelligence children who are so close to the real thing that Bunny chose and chooses again every day to be a part of this simulation because it makes her happier than living in the real world ever could.

It's an extremely sad revelation, but it makes sense of her previous behavior in the movie. She doesn't want the Victory Project to end because if it does she will lose her children all over again.

What's the movie about?

"Don't Worry Darling," like the 1975 classic "The Stepford Wives," is about men forcing women to be what they (the men) want them to be. The movie is about how men who feel powerless about their own lives enact power over women so that they can feel like they have succeeded in some way.

Director Olivia Wilde has even said that the character of Frank is modeled on pseudo-intellectual Jordan Peterson, who proposes that society must return to the way things should be, with women in the domestic sphere. It's not hard to see the connection as Frank says that the Victory Project community wants to return to the way things "are supposed to be."

What makes this theme even more horrifying, and more powerful is a single line that we hear when Jack initially applies to become part of the Victory Project: He is asked if he and his chosen wife (Alice) have a prior relationship. In their case, they do, they have been together for some time, but the question means that there are men in the Victory Project who brought women in who they had never met before. This speaks to the characters being the kinds of men who truly see women as objects, who are willing to kidnap and dictate a woman's life because they want to possess her.

Is the movie based on source material?

The high-concept story of an idyllic world hiding a sinister science fiction secret has been told in a variety of ways (from "The Stepford Wives" to "The Matrix") and some of those stories are based on previous material. The fact that "Don't Worry Darling" brings to life such a specific world that feels thoroughly thought through adds to the feeling that the movie may be based on an existing story. But the movie is an original story, created by Katie Silberman with Carey and Shand Van Dyke.

The movie certainly has influences — Wilde was reportedly influenced by movies like "Inception" and "The Truman Show" — but like both of those equally high-concept movies, it's a story that was always intended to be made into a movie.

While we can't recommend that fans of the movie go check out the book (because there isn't one), we think any fans of "Don't Worry Darling" who are looking for a somewhat similar story to read would be fascinated by Ira Levin's original book of the same name on which "The Stepford Wives" is based.