No movie this year has gotten more attention than the drama-ridden “Don’t Worry Darling,” a mysterious film with a plot that seems to mirror a sort of “Stepford Wives” situation. However, the movie has a plot twist that throws things for a loop and takes the movie in a completely different direction. If you’re confused by the ending, you’re not alone.
Before we get into the crazy ending, let’s go through the plot of the movie to remember everything that happened before.
The plot of Don’t Worry Darling
The movie stars Florence Pugh as Alice and Harry Styles as her husband, Jack. They live in a pristine society called Victory that mirrors the 1950s but obviously isn’t. The people are more free and casual in Victory, as evidenced by a bunch of women walking around topless and no specific 1950s cultural touchstones.
One woman named Margaret questions why everything is so strange and is disappeared by invisible machinations. Jack works at the Victory HQ, but Alice doesn’t really know what he does there.
Alice gets more and more suspicious about the world around her and starts to ask questions about what’s really going on. She wants to know why nothing seems real, like how she cracks open an egg and nothing is inside.
It turns out that Victory is actually a sort of advanced virtual reality-type situation called the Victory Project. In real life, Alice and Jack live in a small apartment, and Alice has a real world job at a hospital where she often works late. Jack is unemployed and upset that he doesn’t get enough attention from his wife, but the fact that he’s not working is creating a gulf between them.
We also see that Jack spends his time not looking for a job and listening to a Jordan Peterson-like misogynistic figure named Frank, played by Chris Pine. We find out that Frank created the technology to allow people to live inside a simulation–one that mirrors a utopian society based around the ideals of the ’50s.
We never see Jack kidnap Alice, but it’s strongly implied that he hooked her up without permission. His motivation is to put her in the Victory Project to improve their lives, but she doesn’t get a say in the situation. There’s a section of the movie where we see a series of scenes showing Jack signing up for the Victory VR sim and also deciding to be a British person inside of it.
Jack straps Alice to a bed and uploads her into the simulation. He does the same for himself, albeit voluntarily. While Jack knows he’s in a simulation, the women do not, and the implication is that they are all being held captive against their will. The goal, of course, is to create a perfect wife.
There’s only one woman who’s aware of what’s going on, and that’s Bunny (Olivia Wilde). We find out that Bunny only decided to do the Victory Project after her real-life children died. In the simulation, she has two virtual children and a happy life, and she does not reveal the truth of the simulation to Alice.
The point of confusion
Everything revs into high gear when Alice finds out about the simulation and stabs her husband. That’s when Bunny shows up and tells Alice that when someone dies in the simulation, they die in real life, but she also explains that there’s a way out.
She tells Alice to go to Victory Headquarters and touch a window, and she’ll be able to escape and tell everyone what the men are doing to the women in the simulation. The window acts as some sort of portal that will wake her up? Transport her? The science of it is never explained.
Regardless, Victory Project goons show up to murder Alice so she won’t wake up and expose everything. She steals Jack’s car and speeds her way through a desert to reach the HQ and the window.
Frank stays abreast of the situation with Alice, getting regular updates about her chase, but he’s stabbed by his wife (Gemma Chan). After she kills him she says, “It’s my turn now.” It’s never explained whether Frank’s wife knew what was going on with Victory. If she was complacent, maybe she killed him to hatch a plan to avoid punishment. If she didn’t know, she killed him for keeping her a prisoner.
Alice finally makes her way to HQ, and when she arrives she sees Jack in a vision. He asks her to stay and be with him. She doesn’t listen and touches the glass. When she does, the screen fades to black, and we hear the sound of a woman gasping. The implication is that she is awake and in the real world.
There were a few things in the movie that never quite got explained. For example, we saw images of synchronized dancers that looked like they were modeled after a Busby Berkeley scene. It happens quickly, but it appears on the ceiling as a projected image when Alice is strapped to the bed. The video’s looped. and it’s purportedly there to hypnotize and help the upload process.
Another thing we don’t really get an answer to is what the men in Victory actually do all day while they’re at “work.” It is ambiguously explained by saying the men are working on “progressive materials.” However, after Alice figures out what’s going on, we learn that Jack hates his job. This implies that the men drive to HQ and “leave” to go do their daily jobs and return later, while the women stay strapped in the simulation. What that job entails is anyone’s guess, but part of Jack’s duties also includes keeping his wife healthy (we see him water her dry lips in a montage).
The little earthquakes are also never explained but could be people coming in and out of the simulation. Perhaps they’re glitches and bugs.