Don’t Worry Darling is a psychological sci-fi thriller in which a housewife begins to suspect that her idyllic community is not all it seems.
Victory is the experimental company town that houses the men who work for the top-secret Victory Project. The 1950’s societal optimism espoused by their CEO, Frank (Chris Pine) anchors every aspect of daily life in the tight-knit desert utopia where power couple, Alice (Florence Pugh) and Jack (Harry Styles), are lucky enough to be living.
But when cracks in their idealised life begin to appear, exposing flashes of something much more sinister lurking beneath the attractive façade, Alice can’t help questioning exactly what they’re doing in Victory, and why. Just how much is Alice willing to lose to expose what’s really going on in this paradise?
Don’t Worry Darling is Olivia Wilde’s second directorial feature. Speaking on stage at CinemaCon earlier this year, Wilde referenced some of the film’s influences, citing: “Inception, The Matrix, The Truman Show.” She added: “It’s my love letter to the movies that pushed boundaries of ambition.”
The film will be released in UK cinemas on 23 September 2022. Ahead of the film’s big-screen debut, we’ve put together a helpful guide for you to discover more about the age rating and what the film contains, before heading off to the cinema.
Don’t Worry Darling
Rated 15 for strong threat, violence, domestic abuse, language, sex, suicide
There is use of strong language ('f**k') and milder terms including 'shit', 'ass', 'God', 'hell' and 'Christ'. There is also use of the middle finger gesture.
There are strong sex scenes without nudity.
A woman takes her own life, with resulting brief bloody detail.
threat and horror
A woman begins to realise that sinister forces are at work in her community. Others manipulate her into beginning to doubt her sanity. At one point she covers her own face in cling film; in another scene, she has a vision of a friend banging her head bloodily against a mirror. A character is held down and given electroconvulsive therapy against her will.
Scenes of violence include a stabbing, and a man being bludgeoned to death, resulting in bloody images. Women are subjected to abusive behaviour by their partners, including physical and emotional abuse.
Why is Don’t Worry Darling classified 15?
(This section may include spoilers for the film)
Don’t Worry Darling involves some fleeting moments of strong threat. Whilst they appear relatively briefly, they are intense and aggravated by the pervasive sense of unease running throughout much of the film. Additionally, there are infrequent scenes of strong violence that involve some bloody detail; these include a scene in which someone is beaten to death and another in which a character is stabbed.
Our guidelines on threat and horror at 15 state: “There may be strong threat and horror. A sustained focus on sadistic threat is unlikely to be acceptable.” In relation to violence, our guidelines state: “Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury. The strongest gory images are unlikely to be acceptable. Strong sadistic violence is also unlikely to be acceptable.” The aforementioned scenes of threat occur within a sci-fi context, and the violence does not dwell on the infliction of pain and injury. They are therefore defensible at 15.
Suicide is another aspect that contributed towards the 15 rating. In the film, there is a brief scene in which a person takes their own life, resulting in some bloody detail in the aftermath. Whilst the scene is brief and does not romanticise suicide, it is a stark and upsetting moment that occurs during a heightened period of emotional distress for the character. Coupled with the resulting injury detail, it therefore exceeds our guidelines at 12.
Another issue highlighted in our short ratings info is domestic abuse. Through its sci-fi premise, the film explores how women are often trapped or manipulated by their partners. Aspects of this theme occur within the threat and violence also, heightening the impact of the abuse, and it is a core theme of the story which could prove distressing for some viewers. It is therefore present in our short ratings info to enable audiences to make an informed viewing choice.
What does our research say?
We classify content in line with our published Classification Guidelines, which are the result of wide-scale consultations with thousands of people from across the UK, extensive research, and more than 100 years of experience. They are updated every four to five years to ensure that our standards continue to reflect the expectations and values of people across the country. We also work closely with experts in particular fields, including child psychologists, education professionals, charities, and other organisations to inform our approach.
Our most recent guidelines consultation in 2019 told us that people, including parents and teenagers, felt that depictions of suicide were seen to be of particular concern in terms of having potential to influence and impact behaviour. When exploring aggravators relating to difficult themes, suicide and self-harm in particular emerged as an issue of concern for young people. Respondents said that a belief that something ‘could happen to me’ transcended usual mitigators, such as fantasy or comedy. With this in mind, we were told that mentioning suicide in our short ratings info, where relevant, was helpful for a potentially vulnerable audience.
Between the guidelines reviews, we also conduct additional research projects on specific areas. Since our last guidelines review in 2019, we have conducted a research project about how we classify domestic abuse, working with Women’s Aid and Respect. The research flagged that survivors can be triggered by scenes of domestic abuse, especially if it is unexpected. This can be traumatising, and can lead to people avoiding certain types of content. As such, the BBFC continues to flag 'domestic abuse' in short ratings info where relevant.