In this section of the Colossus Movie Guide for Don’t Worry Darling, we look at the key shots that help us understand the film.
- Alice – Florence Pugh
- Jack – Harry Styles
- Frank – Chris Pine
- Bunny – Olivia Wilde
- Margaret – KiKi Layne
- Shelley – Gemma Chan
- Dean – Nick Kroll
- Sydney Chandler – Violet
- Peg – Kate Berlant
- Asif Ali – Peter
- Writer – Katie Silberman
- Director – Olivia Wilde
Key shots of Don’t Worry Darling
The toy airplane
For the entire film, Alice is in a simulation—and she eventually realizes it. As we discussed in the Themes and Meaning section, the simulation is symbolic of groupthink, of society’s pressure to make people behave and think a certain way. Thus, Alice’s film-long journey is escaping the simulation.
That’s why she becomes so fascinated by the airplane flying overhead while riding the trolley. They never see airplanes in Victory, as an airplane would signify there’s a way out of the community. Frank and Shelley want everyone to remain in Victory without question.
Thus, as we talked about in the Important Motifs section, the airplane becomes symbolic of escape, of reaching a new destination. This ties with one of the film’s major themes: the profound dissatisfaction with life that so many people feel. The airplane isn’t just a vehicle, but a means of finding something better than what you have, where you’re at.
This is what makes the shot of the toy airplane so meaningful.
Margaret’s son is seen dragging the toy airplane during a scene where Bunny explains Margaret’s mental instability. As we’ll find out later in the film, Bunny knows all about the simulation and is trying to make Margaret seem crazy. But really, Margaret has discovered the mirror in the desert and has her own suspicions about the simulation. And because of it, she wants to leave with her son.
This paints the film’s thematic approach in an entirely new light. Because Alice doesn’t just need to escape the simulation for herself—she needs to protect her future, protect others from being subjected to this brainwashing. An overarching theme in the film is the societal fight for change, which means making the world a better place for future generations. Knowing what happened to Margaret and her son, this motivates Alice to return to the real world.
Alice in the mirror
The final sequence of the film occurs after Alice touches the mirror in the desert. When she touches the mirror, a red light glows on her face.
What follows is important insight into the film’s intentions with the mirror motif. The mirror represents how you see yourself and the person you’d like to become. Throughout the film, Alice has had many strange moments with mirrors, such as when she sees Margaret in the mirror.
But after Alice sees Margaret, Margaret then smashes her face in the mirror, distorting the image.
This is important visual insight into Alice’s journey. Because the image she sees in the mirror isn’t herself—it’s the image that Victory has created for her. Her real body and real brain are in the real world. And Margaret’s face smash Alice’s former self trying to break through and make Victory Alice realize what’s happening.
So in that final shot after Alice looks into the mirror, that’s why we see a bunch of eye imagery.
Notice how the dancers are in the shape of an eye—this is Victory trying to control Alice. But she’s fighting back. In this moment, Alice is drifting out of the Victory simulation and returning to her real life. She will now see herself as she truly is.
Alice’s final dance
Throughout Don’t Worry Darling, there are several moments where characters dance. The first bit of dancing we see is a dance class that all the women of Victory attend each week.
Frank may be the face of Victory, but it seems that Shelley runs the show. She’s in charge of keeping the women in line. “There is beauty in symmetry. We move as one,” she says as she instructs the women to dance a specific routine. This makes the women remain committed to their assigned roles in the simulation, as the dancing is subconsciously linked to the brainwashing sequence where women dance.
Dancing becomes a sort of initiation ritual in Victory. The women are subconsciously forced to retain their submissive roles through dancing, but the men must consciously perform dancing to display their commitment the Victory cause. Which we see during the scene where Jack dances.
By the end of the movie, however, there’s a beautiful reversal where Alice is dancing freely on her own. She has reached the mirror in the desert (as we discussed in the Important Motifs section, the mirror represents Alice’s desire to choose her own life freely), which allows her to return back to reality. As she fades out of the Victory simulation, we see the brainwashing dancers fade away, leaving only Alice as she dances happily in her kitchen.
What are your thoughts?
Are there more shots you think should be part of Colossus Movie Guide? Leave your comments below and we’ll consider adding your thoughts to the guide.