Jack Chambers v. Tom Burgess

SPOILER ALERT!! The great debate of Harry Styles’ on-screen debuts

Dont Worry Darling official movie poster.


“Don’t Worry Darling” official movie poster.

Maya Sagett, Features Editor

Don’t Worry Darling

Harry Styles and Florence Pugh. Need I say more? Arguably two of the most attractive humans on the planet are brought together for the psychodrama that left countless jaws on the floor in Olivia Wilde’s “Don’t Worry Darling.” Whether you recognize the stars from “Midsommer” or One Direction, there’s a little something for everyone in this captivating film. The question is, however, did the execution of the movie really live up to the hype?

“Don’t Worry Darling,” according to Rotten Tomatoes, earned an audience score of 74%, but only a critical rating of 38%. Despite the millions of Harry Styles fans who rushed to the theaters to see him on the big screen and felt obligated to give him a great rating, movie experts were astoundingly disappointed by not just his performance, but the overall effect of distracting visuals and unfinished plot lines.

The movie starts off with a promising exposition, setting up the seemingly perfect world of Victory, California in the 1950s. Alice Warren (Pugh), a beautiful and poised housewife, seems to be living the ideal life while her husband, Jack Chambers (Styles), goes off to Victory headquarters for his top-secret nine-to-five each day. When Alice starts noticing suspicious behavior from her friend Margaret, her terrifying hallucinations begin, including a plane crash out in the off-limits desert. Soon after, she takes it upon herself to investigate what’s really going on at headquarters. When Alice’s concerns are dismissed time and time again by her own husband, she brings them to her best friend, Bunny (Wilde), after which the creator of Victory, Frank (Chris Pine), catches wind of her distrust in his world.

But after almost 90 minutes of “setting the scene,” there was a minor drop-off in my approval of the film. When we finally learn that Victory is all just a simulation, and get a glimpse into the real world where Alice is a surgical resident and Jack is a jobless Discord user, the movie is nearly over and the ending overall feels very rushed. When Alice returns from her “treatment” and hears Jack singing “All The Time” (which he would sing to her when he returned to the real world), Alice finally makes the connection. She realizes that Jack has trapped her in a simulation, and they get into a comedically loud argument, featuring Pugh’s signature frown (as well as Styles’ best impersonation of it).

At this point, one final gasp-worthy moment is left: with Jack seemingly suffocating her and begging her to stay in Victory, Alice kills him by smashing a glass over his head. Although it’s never completely revealed what happens to Alice after she makes her grand escape to headquarters, it can be assumed that she eventually makes it back to her life in the real world.

After seeing this movie three times, you’d think I would have no questions left unanswered. And you’d be very wrong. There are quite a few plotlines that were mentioned once and never fully explained, like strange graphics and very few minute foreshadowings that are extremely difficult to catch or make any connections with.

Overall, despite the high expectations and great initial concept, a million question marks will still be left in your brain, and maybe even a hint of disappointment (even though you could never admit that Harry Styles for once didn’t completely amaze you).

My Policeman

Doing nearly a complete 180, Harry Styles in Michael Grandage’s “My Policeman,” based on the novel by Bethan Roberts, plays Officer Tom Burgess, the semi-affectionate husband to Marion Taylor (Emma Corrin) and secret lover of Patrick Hazelwood (David Dawson). Although the film only earned a slightly higher Rotten Tomatoes rating than “Don’t Worry Darling” of 40%, the audience score of 96% shows just how much more well-produced and executed this movie really was.

“My Policeman” is the beautifully told story of the tragic love affair between three innocent and full hearts, all while demonstrating the importance of being true to yourself and doing your best to live the life you deserve without the judgment and betrayal of others.

The movie is one big flashback with intermittent scenes of the main characters’ hostile situation many decades later. It follows the story of Tom and Marion, who meet over the summer and fall in love all too quickly. In the meantime, Tom comes across Patrick at an art museum, and shortly thereafter, things heat up between them much more than with Marion. Tom begins to angrily question his relationship with Patrick because of his reputation as a police officer, where homosexuality is extremely frowned upon.

Official movie poster for “My Policeman”.

Tom decides that while keeping his relationship with Patrick a secret, he will proceed with his marriage to the unsuspecting Marion. Until Tom and Patrick go on a “work trip” to Italy together, they do a pretty good job at keeping things low-key. Later, though, all goes awry when Tom finds out Patrick’s been arrested with a public indecency charge from many years ago. When Patrick is convicted and incarcerated for two years, a heartbroken Tom eventually finds out that Marion was the one who turned him in, making everything worse.

Eventually, in one final present-day scene, Marion decides to leave for good, and Tom and Patrick silently reconcile, communicating that their love is still alive after all these years.

Overall, this film was just so well-done. It’s a classic love story with a unique twist, ups and downs, and, of course, a beautiful, sob-inducing happy ending (obviously I was one of the many caught in a puddle of tears by the final scene). With lots of foreshadowing especially when bouncing between time periods, including the diary entries being read by Marion and simultaneously narrated by Tom, “My Policeman” does not leave any questions up in the air. Any uncertainties that may arise are resolved at some point later in the film, so as to not confuse viewers. The magnitude of the love felt for the duration of the movie really makes you feel like you’re a part of the story and watching it firsthand, not just a person staring at a big screen.

Like any good drama or romance movie, however, it can be argued that there were some duller moments and a small lull in the middle. But, this is no surprise coming from a generation that is constantly in need of excitement, not two-hour movies. Even with the scenes that made me yawn, they still felt vital to the plot and not like a waste of time; everything eventually came together and was tied with a nice little bow at the end.