There’s a lot of juicy drama outside don’t worry baby, from on-set romances, custody papers, PR blunders, to even a rumored hawked loogie. It’s been one of the more chaotically enjoyable hype cycles in recent memory – one that has only fueled anticipation for the movie itself.
It’s a shame that the movie is 10,000 percent less fun than the mess that precedes it. don’t worry baby is a slog, saved only by the performance of Florence “Miss Flo” Pugh. Her Alice is a woman dealing with simmering (and incredibly believable) anger and mistrust of what’s going on around her. She’s what we in the biz call an audience avatar, a character we can identify with. But that recognizability only goes so far – because the film takes Alice and us on a painfully absurd ride.
(Warning: Spoilers ahead for don’t worry baby.)
don’t worry baby positions itself as a sci-fi-tinged thriller from the 1950s. Keyword “sci-fi.” If you think that not everything is as it seems, then you are right! This is a movie with a big twist, and that big twist has to do with, yes, avatars. And a podcast. And redpilled Redditors-turned-incel dries. And Harry Styles’ hair (and, to a lesser extent, accent). Oh, and unbelievably awful ethics and restrained domestic violence.
Buckle up – unlike all the characters in this film, despite the frenzied car chase during its grand climax. Because don’t worry babyThe reveal of the endgame is a doozy.
The set-up: Alice and her husband, Jack (Harry “Can’t Act” Styles), live in a quiet suburb outside the desert, somewhere on the West Coast. It seems to be somewhere in the 50’s, based on all the updos, floral prints, pearl necklaces and record players blowing up the old standards. All day long the women do nothing but listen to music, watch TV, clean, gossip and go to ballet class.
Jack – like all the husbands in town – works for a mysterious organization called the Victory Project. Frank (Chris Pine) is the very handsome, very suspicious leader of the Victory Project. Alice is the only one who suspects Frank is up to no good, even though he’s the reason the men disappear every day to go work on the Victory Project’s “progressive materials” — and he’s the one who forbids them to kill their wives. to tell what that means.
Alice’s eyes open after a friend of hers, Margaret (KiKi Layne), calls to warn her that things are not going well in their quiet town. Alice tries to reject the call, but not long after, she sees Margaret commit suicide by jumping off her roof. Everything is really not right, and Alice knows it. None of the men in charge – they are all men, of course – can stand that, so the gaslight begins.
The gaslighting gets so bad that Alice eventually has to undergo a medical procedure to relieve her of paranoia. This comes after she confronts Frank, Jack and her unwitting neighbors about what’s going on: the Victory Project has no intention of keeping women in the dark and silencing them when they almost discover what’s really going on. hand is in their remote headquarters. But Frank seems really horny because Alice is on her way to get to the truth about what he and the men are doing, challenging her to dig for clues.
But Alice, and the viewer, don’t really understand what’s happening until she’s tied to a table about to clear her mind of everything she knows in order to quell her rebellion. And this is where things get incredibly, incredibly nonsensical.
We are transported into Alice’s memories before they are wiped out. It turns out that before joining the Victory Project, Alice and Jack were a bickering modern-day married couple. Jack lost his job, which Alice said was fine – she’s a surgeon and she has to do more 30-hour shifts in the operating room. Jack was able to take the time he needed to find another job.
Instead, he sat at home on the computer all day, mad at Alice for not coming home for dinner every night. His manhood was threatened and he began to spend more time on the internet listening to a creepy, cult podcast hosted by none other than Frank.
Jack was indoctrinated by Frank through his poisonous sermons about making the ideal society, one in which men are dominant and women submissive. Frank didn’t just preach these ideas, he put them into practice: Somehow, this podcast host had created a very detailed simulation of his dream world, which men like Jack could sign up to live in.
Jack has clearly signed up for the simulation, which is called the Victory Project. The fat-haired, bespectacled nerd got the chance to become who he really wanted to be: a friendly Brit (hm, wonder why?) instead of a dorky American, whose wife would stay home and leave him the breadwinner for once. to be. All Jack had to do was not tell Alice about this, or she would spoil his fun. Then he could sedate her and connect her to the glasses-type device that gives access to the Victory Project.
There is one catch. Jack has to get out of the simulation for eight hours every day – that’s when the men went to ‘work’ – to make sure Alice was still connected to the headset and alive? Jack would also do some unseen work to continue paying for entry to the Victory Project. Alice remains blissfully ignorant of all this, drinking and chatting in the sim all day, every day, forever.
This, my friends, is why the metaverse is a bad idea.
The complicated explanation for the vague creepiness of don’t worry babyThe first two companies raise more questions than answers. How has no one rescued the important surgeon Alice from captivity yet? What kind of work does Jack do to earn money? Are the pregnant women in the simulation actually pregnant? Why and how does Frank support this very intricately designed sect? Is he still making the podcast while hanging out in the virtual world? Where did that mysterious plane come from that crashed in the desert, leaving Alice to investigate everything? Why does the ground sometimes shake violently?
I could go on and on and on. Before the movie can even begin with these plot holes, Jack and Frank die – Alice beats Jack to death with a glass as he tries to subdue her; Frank’s scary wife (Gemma Chan) randomly stabs him when he realizes Alice is blowing up his entire life’s work. And if you die in the simulation, you die in real life.
These are the great takeaways from don’t worry baby‘s mind-numbing twist, in short: Ra ra, feminism. Boo, toxic masculinity. Technology is bad. The end!