Don’t Worry Darling: 5 Famous Midcentury-Modern Buildings to Spot in the Film

Olivia Wilde’s first film as a director, coming-of-age caper Booksmart, was a total delight, so hopes would be high for her return. Enter Don’t Worry Darling, but not for the reasons expected. As it turns out, it’s something of a left turn: again made in collaboration with Booksmart writer Katie Silberman, but a period piece and set in a very different world from the real-life humor of her debut.

This time, we’re in 1950s California for a tale that draws on the existential sci-fi of Inception, The Matrix and The Truman Show (Wilde’s own references) and a few shades of The Stepford Wives (ours, based on the trailer). Our hero is Alice, wife to Jack, who finds a job in the all-consuming but rather mysterious Victory Project. As Alice begins her new life with the fellow Victory employees and wives in their tight, apparently utopian, community, she begins to sense something is not quite right: everything from airplanes to eggs don’t seem quite real, and no one will say exactly what this project is all about.

Chris Pine is one of the names in an all-star cast.

Album / Alamy Stock Photo

Beyond Wilde’s own track record there are the stars she’s chosen for the film. Alice and Jack are played by Florence Pugh, fresh from Black Widow and Midsommar, and One Direction singer Harry Styles, in a role that was originally given to Shia LaBoeuf but which seems certain to consolidate the singer’s acting career and has also led to him dating Wilde. Meanwhile, as Frank, leader of the Victory Project, there’s Chris Pine, the Star Trek lead turning his looks and charisma to the dark side.

The trailer also reveals the other film’s key player: the location of Palm Springs. For her utopia, Wilde filmed in this unique desert oasis, famed for its midcentury-modern architecture, with its clean lines, industrial materials and bursts of color sitting surreally in a landscape of mountains and palm trees.

The city has appeared on film before: Mission: Impossible III and Ocean’s 11 made it a feature and 50 years ago Sean Connery received a beating from two gymnastic female bodyguards in the concrete surrounds of the famous Arthur Elrod House in Diamonds Are Forever. Don’t Worry Darling, though, focuses on the city’s peculiar aesthetic as never before, using both the beauty and weirdness of its futurist vision. Here’s a showcase of the film’s tour of this amazing city.

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