Don’t Worry Darling (2022) Ending Explained – What is the Victory Project?

Don’t Worry Darling Plot Synopsis

Don’t Worry Darling is a 2022 American dystopian psychological thriller film directed by Olivia Wilde, starring her, Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine and Gemma Chan. In America during an unspecified time period, Alice and Jack Chambers played by Pugh and Styles live in an idyllic 1950s-styled neighbourhood of the company town of Victory, California. The Victory Project where all the men work, is the brainchild of Pine’s Frank and his partner, Dr. Shelley Collins played by Gemma Chan. 

The town is an oasis of affluence and leisure unknown to the wider world, comparable to the secret cities created for families of scientists who would work on secretive, quasi-government projects. The women are all housewives and forbidden to cross the town limits and go into the desert near the Victory headquarters.

Life is perfect, with every resident’s needs met by the company. All they ask in return is discretion and unquestioning loyalty to their suburban utopia. But something’s not quite right. And that nagging suspicion increasingly gnaws at Alice until one day she decides to investigate it. 


dont-worry-darling-margaret

What sets off Alice to investigate the Victory Project?

Alice’s neighbour, Margaret spirals into seeming insanity after wandering into the desert beyond the bounds of their town. She loses her son and in the process sets off the domino which will be the downfall of Victory. Shortly after, Alice witnesses Margaret slit her own throat and fall off her roof to the ground. Before a horrified Alice can react, security personnel in red jumpsuits rush to take the body away while other jumpsuits grab Alice and hastily remove her from the scene.

When she later asks about Margaret, she is told dismissively that Margaret had a minor accident, been given a few stitches and is fine and recuperating. Alice just can’t swallow that explanation, but no one’s willing to hear her out so she decides to look into the matter on her own.


dont worry darling victory enrol

What is the Victory Project and how did Jack and Alice become a part of it?

Don’t Worry Darling is The Stepford Wives meets The Matrix with shades of The Truman Show. In the real world, it’s modern times or probably sometime in the near future. Jack and Alice live together in a small apartment. Alice is a doctor who is overworked and is referred to as Dr. Warren and not Chambers. Jack is jobless and sits at home all day listening to podcasts. Their relationship is at a low with Alice being exhausted and barely having any time for Jack.

Enter Frank’s podcast about Victory, a virtual world in which everything is perfect at least for the men. The Victory Program would take one back to the 1950s when men ruled the world and women “knew” their place. Jack decides to enrol into the virtual world of Victory. Without her consent, he drugs Alice and places her in a medically induced coma. Jack attaches Alice to a virtual reality device with her eyelids wired open and an IV in her arm to provide nutrients and keep her alive. 

In the simulation, Jack has fuller hair, clearer skin, a better posture, and a British accent. And in this world, Alice and Jack get to live a stereotypically perfect life where Alice doesn’t have to work anymore and Jack finally has a successful career. 


dont worry darling portal

Why did Alice not reach the real world the first time?

After watching an airplane’s crash in the desert, Alice ventures beyond the town limits (into forbidden territory) to investigate, but instead finds herself at the Victory headquarters.

As she touches the Victory exit portal, her body prepares to bring her back to the real world. But since it was in the day, when the men are all in the real world, it seems that Jack must have been present when she first exited. It is also later alluded that Jack was the one who immediately sent Alice back into Victory before she could wake up from her coma.


dont worry darling song

How does Alice remember her real life?

After the disastrous dinner where she confronts Frank, Alice begs Jack for them to leave Victory and he seems to agree, but as soon as they get in the car, security personnel rush in and drag her away for treatment. Alice undergoes electroshock therapy and is soon sent back home. On the surface, she appears normal with some minor memory issues.

All seemingly goes back to normal. We are once again in a happy family scenario with Alice preparing a roast while Jack looks for a music record and is humming a tune softly. Alice hears the tune and recognizes the song which plays from the beginning of the film and something clicks in her subconscious.

Her real memories of Jack singing the song in the real world fire up her brain, neurons re-wire and she finally realizes, exactly what happened and the twist is revealed. None of these people are living in the California desert in a town called Victory. It’s a virtual reality world, similar to the virtual world of The Matrix.


dont worry darling bunny

Why is Bunny aware of the Victory Project?

At first, it seems that Margaret is the only one aware of the grim reality. She is immediately silenced and labelled unstable. This moment is, of course, part of the traditional narrative of labelling a woman as crazy or hysterical when she is vocal or asks uncomfortable questions. 

One of Alice’s friends, Bunny portrayed by Wilde, initially tries to convince Alice that her fears and doubts are false and she should just go with the flow and enjoy life or she’ll end up like Margaret. And while it may seem that she is hardwired into thinking that, it is because Bunny too knows the reality and knows what will happen if Alice keeps on investigating.

Interestingly, Bunny is the only woman (apart from Frank’s wife) who knows the truth and has willingly entered the program, because that’s the only way she can be with her children, who are actually dead in the real world. In fact, all the children in this fantasy world are fake which is why Margaret’s were taken from her as punishment for going to Victory.


dont worry darling women 2

Why do the women start changing at the end of the film?

Towards the end, Alice’s rebellion sets off a series of near-cataclysmic events. The bugs in the program clash and the other women start to get disorientated. And her attempt to escape seems to inspire change in some of the other women around her who realise that something is very wrong. 

And surprisingly, Shelley stabs Frank, saying it’s her ‘turn’, who possibly worked on the Victory Project with him, symbolizing a feminine takeover in leadership. She probably feels that she doesn’t want to be a passive onlooker during this long-standing, manipulative form of control. She knows that Alice’s exit will unravel the whole program, not to mention the legal ramifications if Alice does make it out alive and heads for the nearest police station.


dont worry darling car

Does Alice survive?

When Alice does discover the horrific truth, and inadvertently kills Jack, Bunny rushes to her aid and tells her to take the car and rush to the Victory Headquarters, because that’s the only way she can exit the program before Frank’s people kill her comatose body in the real world. So finally, Alice manages to survive the car chase, rush up to the Victory Headquarters and exit the program as the screen goes dark and she exhales like a drowning person emerging out of the depths.

What is unsaid is that she probably wakes up, malnourished and feeble, possibly bound to her bed next to her once beloved husband’s corpse. Does she survive this ordeal?  We hope she does. 


dont worry darling frank

What was Frank’s purpose behind Victory?

Frank’s underlying philosophy for the Victory Project is based on progress versus chaos, which he expounds to the townsfolk during a fiesta. He is a symbol of oppressive male power and control. He believes that any change to gender roles would neutralize the progress of creating the ultimate community. The irony in his philosophy is that there will never be progress. Everything will always remain old-fashioned, traditional and suppressive. 

But in actuality, chaos is the natural state of being. What is unnatural is perfection, which the Victory Project wishes to achieve. Taking people (with or without their knowledge) from their natural state of chaos and disarray and putting them in a matrix in a comatose state, so that they can experience beauty and order in its godlike perfection in a fantasy world is the most unnatural state of affairs.

But whose fantasy is Victory? Is the perfect world based on the attitudes and perspectives of its makers? Victory is a singular technological development that supposedly a small consortium of people have managed to achieve and beta-tested, and it’s obviously a well-kept secret.

And what about the ethics – the women have been tricked into this fantasy world, without their consent or knowledge. The women through psycho-physio-biological manipulations are molded to behave as per the patriarchal norms of the 40s and 50s, they are made to forget about equality and empowerment. So it begs the question, whose values and attitudes have been inserted into this beautiful fantasy world?

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