Darlings Review (No Spoilers): Great Shefali/Alia Performances, Overall Very Much a First Film

I finally watched it! And I am NOT going to tell y’all to watch it. Just because it deals with spousal abuse for large parts of the film and it’s frankly hard to watch. But if that doesn’t bother you (or if you are okay fastforwarding), it also has a kick of two central performances.

Halfway through the movie, my friend and I said to each other “this feels like a first film, why does it feel like a first film?” I’m still thinking about that, and I think it’s because of the ambition. That’s not a bad thing. You look at Rohit Shetty, on film 200 or something, he is just cranking out steady stable simple films, and that’s not a bad thing either. A GREAT thing is if someone manages to balance the steady stable feel and the ambition. But early films tend to be too much, and later too little. This one is definitely Too Much.

There’s a great visual idea for fantasy escapes from reality, two fabulous performances at the center, an excellent overall plot, high quality visuals and dialogue and all that extra stuff. But ultimately, it’s too much! the performances, the plot, the fantasy versus reality, I’m not sure what the central idea is. It feels like they are all equally central and you can’t do that and have a film that fully works.

You can do that and have a PERFORMANCE that fully works. Shefali Shah and Alia Bhatt fully and totally understand their respective characters, with all the layers and strangeness in both of them. If this was a film that simply focused on those two women played by those two actresses and not all the other stuff, I would love it. As it is, I merely like it. It’s fine.

But really, Alia is AMAZING! I find this performance far more remarkable than Gangubai. She does comedy! I don’t know if I’ve seen her do full comedy before, like broad comic strokes not just rom-com type comedy. That’s really hard, and she gets the timing and expressions and full body everything just right. Shefali is also amazing, but we knew she would be, that’s not a surprise.

Okay, that’s it! Quick review to help you decide if you want to see it, and now I will write the full SPOILER review for those who want to either be spoiled, or have already seen it and want to chat.

5 thoughts on “Darlings Review (No Spoilers): Great Shefali/Alia Performances, Overall Very Much a First Film

  1. Right on with the first film issues. Lots of tone issues. I thought the first half was too melodramatic and didn’t do enough with the dark comedy, but the second half was hitting its stride. The plot point that was the last straw for Alia’s character was so predictable and I don’t like how they had to go there to make it the motivating factor in her later actions (the abuse was enough). I did think she was wonderful in the role and there were no bad performances in this one. I will definitely want to watch more by this director though.

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    • I would have loved if the final straw was something personal and unexpected. Like, he broke her favorite dish. That also seems more realistic, you never know what someone’s breaking point is.

      On Fri, Aug 19, 2022 at 10:40 AM dontcallitbollywood < comment-reply@wordpress.com> wrote:

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  2. Couldn’t continue after the first half. Will try to complete. Though, it felt like trying too much and not hitting it right. Yes, visuals are good. Cast is good too. But dialogues in the first half felt too forced. Vijay’s portrayal seemed better in the first half. And what was strange was, why did Alia had too strong of a Mumbaiyya accent, but her mother Shefali (in the film) didn’t have it that strong. That seemed weird.

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