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The Most Disturbing Moments In Don't Worry Darling Ranked

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

"Don't Worry Darling" is a purposefully ironic title for Olivia Wilde's new movie. Though there's been more drama surrounding the film's production and press tour (via Deadline), this cautionary tale seeks to explore an issue she and screenwriter Katie Silberman (who based the script on a story by Carey and Shane Van Dyke) would very much like their audience to worry about: the creeping return of the patriarchy as an answer to modernity's messy problems. 

Florence Pugh plays Alice Chambers, a young wife with a life that would make just about every girl content, even if it isn't exactly one she'd aspire to. She has a well-appointed house in a sunny desert development. She has a closet full of the latest fashions, tailored to her proportions (she looks enviably put together at all times with no effort). She has a close knit circle of friends, all the leisure time she could ever want, a calendar of swanky parties to attend, a constantly-full glass of bourbon or wine, and — to top it off — a doting and impossibly handsome husband in Harry Styles' Jack

Though "Don't Worry Darling" hides its secret pretty well in its marketing, it is obvious that everything in its model community, Victory, isn't what it seems. The central question of this thriller is really whether Alice has all those things or whether they have her. Whether she's a victor or a victim slowly reveals itself to Alice and to the audience through moments that seem to warp her otherwise perfect existence. These are the most disturbing.

11. The drunken opening party

In the opening scene of "Don't Worry Darling," Alice and her husband Jack appear to be getting along very, very well. They're also getting along quite well with their neighbors, a cul de sac worth of other couples who are in the midst of a raucous mid-century party. The alcohol flows freely in Victory, and most of these well-dressed and perfectly coifed folks have had too much to drink. That includes Peg, a noticeably pregnant woman. When the men at the party encourage pregnant Peg to consume more liquor, the audience could hand-wave away this otherwise upsetting idea by telling themselves that this is, after all, another place and another time. 

The same could be said of Jack and Alice's drunk driving moments later. The couple is in his convertible, still inebriated and doing donuts in a dirt lot at high speed. Jack even blindfolds Alice to make the whole thing more exciting. But that's the point. The supposedly superior era that Victory stands for is one in which women drank and smoked while they were with child and one in which men didn't think twice before getting behind the wheel of a car with an over-the-limit blood alcohol level. For a movie that's ostensibly about 1950s domestic bliss, this party is our first indication that the good old days weren't as picture perfect as advertised. 

10. The plane glitches in the sky

Margaret, we learn through the ladies' gossip, wandered into the desert beyond the restricted zone with her son. The wives believe her son died out there, but Margaret claims "they" took him from her as punishment for her disobedience. On the trolley, after the other women disembark to shop, Alice stays on through the end of the line and sees a red plane in the sky that resembles the toy one that Margaret's son left in the desert ... the one she clings to as a memento now. It seems to visually glitch and distort before it crashes behind a mountain. 

Confident that she saw what she saw, Alice pleads with the trolley driver to go with her to the site of the crash, to help any possible survivors. When he refuses, she has to make the long trek herself in a black dress and dress shoes in the dry desert heat. When she gets to the top of the mountain behind which the plane went down, there's no flaming wreckage. Instead, she happens upon Victory's headquarters. She touches her palms and forehead to its tinted windows, has a strange hallucination, then finds herself waking up in her own bed unaware of how she got there. That nobody will listen to Alice about the plane crash is frustrating, and the very idea that all evidence of an accident could just go missing is creepy. But it's that almost imperceptible glitch in the clouds that lets us know Alice's reality is, indeed, being distorted. 

9. Jack's dance

Just when Alice's paranoia is reaching a fever pitch, she and Jack are invited to a once-a-year formal event hosted by Frank for the company. Jack's picked out a gown for her. He's been picturing her in it all week, he says, right before he confesses to her that he thinks he's ready to have children. Alice gets ready for the gala, but especially after Jack's newfound paternal instincts (she thought they'd decided not to have kids), she's close to her breaking point. Minutes into the festivities, Alice is begging Jack to go home. Instead, Frank calls Jack up on stage and promotes him to Victory's Senior Advisory Board in front of the whole crowd. It's a huge honor, one that the other men surely covet. He leaves his wife alone in her seat and takes the stage. 

Frank places a ring on Jack's finger, then Jack takes off his tuxedo jacket and begins to dance — a kind of soft shoe — as if he's being compelled to. The dance is incredibly proficient and energetic, but it lacks joy. Jack looks increasingly like a puppet as a crying Alice escapes to the bathroom. His wife actually witnesses very little of his forced performance. Once we know what "Don't Worry Darling" is really about, this moment becomes even more ominous in hindsight. Though Jack thought he was taking control of his life and his relationship with Alice by joining Victory, he's still under nefarious Frank's virtual thumb.

8. The empty eggs

The wives of Victory really seem to love cooking for their husbands. Peg tells Violet that she expresses herself creatively through her appetizers, which is a skill that cannot be taught, and Bunny is constantly complimenting everyone else's skill in the kitchen as a means of making and keeping friends. What one brings to a dinner party is a frequent topic of conversation among the women and as much a professional contribution to Victory as the female residents get to make. But as she's preparing a steak dinner one night for Jack's birthday, Alice notices something wrong with the eggs. She holds one up to the light and examines it. Then, instead of cracking it on the edge of a bowl, she crushes it in her bare hand. No yoke leaks out. Instead, the brittle white shell crumbles to pieces under the force of her fist. 

She repeats this experiment several times. Each egg is as barren and dry as the last. For the time being, Alice shakes off this inconsistency with what she knows to be true about eggs and finishes dinner (a five course meal which she and Frank promptly sweep off of the dining table since their appetite for each other is stronger than their hunger for the roast). But at a dinner party near the end of the film, attended by almighty Frank himself, Alice challenges his supremacy by asking everyone to consider where their food comes from. Since Frank provides it all, she guesses that he could be controlling their minds through the groceries. Alice doesn't have it all figured out just yet, but the empty eggs are her first clue that something's not right. 

7. Frank watches

"Don't Worry Darling" is absolutely teeming with attractive people doing attractive things. Florence Pugh as Alice and Harry Styles as Jack can't keep their hands off of each other for the first third of the movie. The same goes for Victory CEO Frank (an immaculately groomed Chris Pine) and his gorgeous wife Shelley (Gemma Chan) at the pool party to which they've invited only some of Victory's employees and residents. There's a lot of steamy foreplay in "Don't Worry Darling," but fairly quickly, all that passionate smooching turns too intense for comfort. 

When Jack disappears during Frank's speech, Alice goes looking for him and finds him inside the house, worrying about whether he chose the right tie (impressing Frank is always of the utmost importance). Alice assures him he looks fine, and the couple begin tearing at each other with their hands and mouths as if they're feral animals. Alice tries to protest — she reminds him that there are tons of people just outside the window — but she doesn't stop him. That's when Frank appears around the corner. She makes eye contact with her husband's boss, who smiles approvingly and lingers awhile to watch. Alice seems unsettled by Frank's sinister grin, but she continues going through the motions with Jack anyway. This encounter is as odd for the audience as it is for the central couple. She knows they've been caught, but rather than straighten out their bodies and clothes in embarrassment, she seems to understand that she's expected to continue performing. 

6. The red suit squad

The audience knows going in that some mystery lies behind the too-good-to-be-true veneer of the community of Victory (at least, they do if they've seen the trailer). The perfect façade falls apart the first time we see Frank's red suit squad of fixers, even if we still don't know what Victory really is yet. They rush in and restrain Alice, who's just witnessed Margaret's suicide and is in a state of panic. Those red suits are pretty conspicuous for a team of a secret agents whose mission is to maintain discretion. 

As "Don't Worry Darling" hurdles toward its climax, we see them more and more. They're an integral part of the film's conclusion; two carloads of them chase Alice down as she attempts to reach headquarters in Jack's convertible, then a dozen or so red suited goons scale the rocky hill to try to stop her from exiting Victory. 

But the most disturbing use of the red suits comes when Alice thinks she's convinced Jack to leave with her. After their disastrous dinner party, Alice pleads with Jack to move on with their lives elsewhere. She reasons that they don't need Victory's nice houses and well-paying jobs, so long as they have each other. He relents, she packs up their things and makes a snack, and they get in the car. Slowly, it dons on Alice that they're not going anywhere — at least, Jack isn't. He tells her that he's sorry, that he didn't think it would come to this, then red suits show up in their driveway to have Alice committed. Though the film is ultimately a feminist allegory, it's chilling to watch Alice promise in desperate screams that she will behave better if he doesn't let them take her away. 

5. The cling wrap

Alice becomes increasingly bothered by her suspicions that something strange is going on in her seemingly ideal upper middle-class, mid-century world. Nobody believes her about the plane crash and she's starting to feel crazy. Almost as if to test the nature of her reality, she takes the plastic wrap that she had been using to keep tomatoes and lettuce fresh for the fridge and wraps it tight around her face. She spins the cellophane around her head several times, each layer crushing her features a little more and making it harder to breathe. When Alice realizes that she is, in fact, suffocating, she tries and fails to find the tail end of the plastic. With life and death urgency, she claws at her eyes until she manages to rip open a piece of the clear film, then pulls the rest of it away just in time. 

This isn't a suicide attempt, per se, on Alice's part, but it's an undeniably troublesome thing to do to oneself. At this juncture in "Don't Worry Darling," the audience is still trying to find its footing. Is Alice trapped in some hell that only appears to be a heaven? Is whatever's causing Margaret's delusions contagious? This scene occurs about halfway through the movie, so viewers probably realize deep down that it's not likely our protagonist will kick the bucket quite so soon. Still, Pugh acts out this bizarre impulse with such emotional honesty, you can't help but gasp for breath yourself.  

4. Bunny knows the truth

Director Olivia Wilde also plays supporting character Bunny, Alice's neighbor and best friend. From the second we meet Bunny and her husband Bill, it's plain as day that they're all-in on Victory. Bunny has serious alpha energy, and whenever wives question or dissent about the virtues of their lifestyles, she's the one who stops them in their tracks. As it turns out, Bunny is the only one of the women who knows the secret of Victory: that it's all a high-tech simulation for men who want to live in a bygone era with subservient wives.

That Bunny has known all along isn't honestly much of a surprise. She's too sharp compared to the other women; she's not in a haze the way Peg and Violet are. It's not even that jaw-dropping of a reveal that Bunny chose Victory for herself (we don't know whether Bill is a willing participant or a captive husband in some bedroom somewhere). The reason Bunny gives for her self-imposed virtual imprisonment is similarly predictable. In the real world, her kids are dead. At home in Victory, they get off the bus everyday and run into her loving arms. 

If you thought "Don't Worry Darling" reminded you of "WandaVision" in its picket fence-y first act, then Bunny's choice to exist in a faux reality with virtual AI projections of her children really invites comparisons. But there's something extra menacing about the fact that we don't know what happened to Bunny's children. Though she gets a few good person points for letting her supposed best friend escape a certain death sentence by finally telling her the truth, she's also an accomplice in the slavery and confinement of the chosen wives ... women to whom she presents herself as an ally and confidant. That kind of moral compartmentalizing invites speculation about whether Bunny's kids perished in an accident or ... not.

3. The wall closes in

As Alice begins to experience anxiety about her daily life and marriage, she sees and feels things that might be real or might be hallucinations. Most of these oddities have to do with the trappings of femininity and domesticity (ballet class, the eggs, the cling wrap); the metaphor isn't lost on the viewer. Married life in the suburbs can be a horror story if it's not the life you've chosen for yourself. One sequence takes this metaphor to the extreme. Its meaning might be a little on the nose, but the moment itself is one of the most terrifying scares in "Don't Worry Darling." 

Each time that Jack leaves for work, Alice looks a little more disheveled and a little less blissful. Still, she goes about her day's chores as she listens to Frank's motivational lectures about order and symmetry. She vacuums the rug, scrubs the bathtub, and washes the windows (never mind that it's incredibly cruel that, since we know this is all a simulation by the end, the men in charge are still making the women cook digital food and a clean a digital house). After the plane incident, Alice is Windexing a glass wall in her hallway in a sheer white nightgown with a scrap of old newspaper. She can't get one spot clean enough. As she worries at it, the wall behind her — nearly covered with black and white pictures of her and Jack — literally closes in on her. In a prolonged and uncomfortably claustrophobic shot, it nearly squashes her to death until she blinks and suddenly, the hallway and her body snap back to normal. 

2. Visions of Margaret

Alice isn't the first wife to challenge Victory or its founder, Frank. Her friend Margaret appears to be losing control due to the loss of her son, but Alice starts to wonder whether she should take what sound like grief-stricken ramblings seriously. Every scene involving Margaret is discomfiting — that's her purpose in "Don't Worry Darling." To be sure, the manner in which she kills herself as a helpless Alice looks on is one of the movie's darkest moments. But the scene in which she appears to Alice during ballet class just before her suicide is considerably eerier. 

It's unnerving enough that grown women seem to be forced to take ballet lessons in Victory. Again (as was the case with Jack's tap dance), the complete lack of warmth and expression in their movements makes the lesson the stuff of a thriller and not just an intimate drama. When Alice steps out of formation and starts to consider the bent of her arm in the mirror, the audience moves a little closer to the edges of their seats, ready for something to happen. Instead of her own reflection, Alice sees Margaret in the mirror, wearing a pink dancing dress that's as ghostly as it is infantile. She reaches out to Alice, then repeatedly bashes her face into the back of the mirror until it shatters and she and her baby pink dress are covered in blood. This episode completely knocks Alice off balance. She doesn't know (and neither do we) if Margaret really manifested herself behind the mirror and suffered harm or if it was all in her mind. 

1. Jack's bedroom prison

For most of the movie's runtime, viewers are just waiting for the other shoe to drop. By the time Alice confronts Frank, we know as well as she does that someone is up to no good. It's easy enough to guess that Frank is the main culprit, but that Jack is as much of a villain as he is might come as more of a shock, especially since he's written to be so charming in the beginning. The big twist is that Jack is bitter and dissatisfied that his surgeon partner works long hours and doesn't make him feel good enough about himself. He signs them up for Victory, then presumably renders her unconscious and straps her into their bed, where she's been for an unspecified length of time with her eyes pried open, "Clockwork Orange" style, attached to a drip of mind-altering drugs. 

The fleeting image we get of their apartment bedroom is probably the most disturbing in the entire film. They live in what appears to be an economically depressed area. The room itself is unremarkable except for how dreary it is. A practically lifeless Alice is belted to her side of the bed as a greasy and unkempt Jack climbs into his side to log into his virtual life. They're surrounded by what looks like the type of cloth curtain that divides patients in hospital rooms. This isn't just a prison; people still have mental and bodily autonomy in a jail cell. Jack has literally taken control of her facilities, which is an infinitely worse violation, and one that's harder to escape.