Don’t Worry Darling ending explained: your biggest questions answered

Harry Styles and Florence Pugh in Don't Worry Darling
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

The Don't Worry Darling ending ties up most of the mysteries at the heart of Olivia Wilde's latest film. The twisty story begins in an idyllic '50s town in California where Jack (Harry Styles) and Alice (Florence Pugh) live a seemingly perfect life. Jack goes to work every day and Alice does the household chores before they spend their evenings partying and doing, ehem, other things. However, Alice's grip on reality begins to crack when she starts noticing odd things happening in their otherwise seemingly-perfect life and she starts to question who mysterious leader Frank (Chris Pine) really is.

The final act delves into what's been going on beneath the surface at Victory. That's not to say the Don't Worry Darling ending ties up all of the loose ends – in fact, there are several major unanswered questions as the credits roll. Is [redacted] really dead? What happened to [redacted] after they [redacted]? And why is [redacted]?

To help you make sense of everything that happens, we're taking a deep dive into the final moments of Wilde's sophomore flick. But before we go any further, be warned: we'll be getting into MAJOR plot points from here on out. So if you haven't seen Don’t Worry Darling yet, head to your nearest theater before coming back and enjoying our spoiler-filled breakdown of the dramatic ending.

Don't Worry Darling ending explained *spoilers* 

Don't Worry Darling's opening sets up life in Victory, California. It begins at a party as Jack, Alice, Bunny (Olivia Wilde), Bill (Nick Kroll), Peg (Kate Berlant), and Peter (Asif Ali) dance and drink. The next morning we see what a day in Victory is like. Wives wake up with their husbands and make them breakfast before setting off for the day. The women go into town on a shuttle, eat, gossip, shop, and do their ballet classes. Then it's back to the house to finish up chores, make dinner, and – if you're Jack and Alice – have sex. 

However, not everyone fits in, as we find out when Frank – the mysterious boss of the Victory Project – invites guests to a party at his house. This includes new arrivals Violet (Sydney Chandler) and her husband Bill (Douglas Smith) who are keen to impress everyone. Frank gives a speech about what they're trying to achieve, but Margaret (KiKi Layne) interrupts and claims he's lying. She gets carted off by her husband and a mysterious doctor prescribes her something.

A new day begins and Alice is on her usual morning trolly ride when she spots a plane falling out of the sky. When the driver won't take her to investigate, she runs off towards the crash. While she doesn't find any evidence of the plane, she encounters a huge dome-like structure covered in mirrors – the headquarters. As Alice touches the structure, she blacks out and has visions of strange dancers. She wakes up at home and finds Frank attempting to cook for her as she tries to convince him something strange is going on but he just dismisses her.

From here on out, the breaks in reality become more frequent. At one point Alice sees Margaret bashing her head against a mirror in her ballet studio before she sees her balancing on the top of her house's roof. As Alice watches on, Margaret slits her throat and falls from the roof and red-jumpsuit-clad figures come and take her away. Everyone tries to convince Alice that Margaret just had a fall and is completely fine, and she even gets a visit from Doctor Collins (Timothy Simons) who prescribes her pills for her exhaustion. 

Florence Pugh in Don't Worry Darling

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

After Jack gets a promotion, Alice hosts a dinner party where Frank is the guest of honor. While everyone's mingling, Frank joins Alice in the kitchen where he tells her he knows she told Bunny what was going on, and that she may finally be his match. Over dinner, Alice begins to question why everyone's backstories in Victory are the same, pointing out that something strange is going on. Everyone leaves and she begs Jack to take them away from the town – at first he seems to agree, but then he's actually let the authorities know to take Alice away and reintegrate her in the system, which basically means giving her electric shock therapy. She begins to have visions of her and Jack's life before Victory. We see Alice as a doctor while a dorky-looking Jack listens to podcasts from Frank talking about his vision for an ideal world.

Alice is welcomed back to Victory. However, her bliss doesn't last long. Jack and Alice argue as she starts to remember her real life. We learn that the project involves partners entering a simulation of a perfect life in the 1950s, in which the wives stay the whole time. Every day, during work hours, the men drive out of the stimulation through the dome building to work, hoping to earn enough to stay in the simulation. We see Alice at this point strapped to a bed, covered in bruises as the simulation is beamed into her eyes Clockwork Orange style. In their home in Victory, Alice hits Jack over the head with a glass, killing him.

Bunny enters the house and tells Alice she knows the truth. She chooses to stay in the simulation because she wants to be with her children, who it's implied aren't alive in real life. She tells Alice she needs to escape or Frank will kill her in real life. She gets in a car chase and drives to the dome headquarters. The simulation tries to stop her from escaping, but she manages to shake them off. At the dome, Jack (or a simulation of him) wraps his arms around her and tries to convince her to stay.

Meanwhile, Frank is nervously waiting by the phone to find out whether Alice manages to escape or not. When he finds out she's about to leave, Shelley (Gemma Chan) stabs him, telling him it's her turn to be in charge now. In the final scene, Alice touches the wall of the Victory Project headquarters, it cuts to black, and we hear her breath as she wakes up in the real world.

Is Alice alive? Is Jack really dead?

Harry Styles and Florence Pugh in Don't Worry Darling

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Bunny tells Alice that when a man dies in Victory, he dies in the real world. Alice hit Jack very hard over the head with a glass, covering herself in blood, and killing him. That means that, in reality, Jack is dead too. 

Alice makes it to the exit from Victory and the film cuts just as she pulls her head back to slam it back into the glass – just like Margaret did in the ballet studio. Alice starts to see the dancers and shapes that signal entry or exit from Victory, intercut with her dancing in the real world. We hear her gasp awake, so we can assume she safely made it out of the simulation and is now awake again in reality. 

What happens to Frank? Why does Shelley kill him?

Chris Pine in Don't Worry Darling

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Frank, the nefarious, cult-like leader of Victory, is tracking Alice's progress as she tries to escape. But, when he turns around, his wife Shelley stabs him and declares it's her turn in charge now. It's a nasty wound, so it seems very unlikely that he survives it. Following the rules of the simulation, that means he's dead in the real world, too. As for why Shelley does it, it's likely she's woken up to the simulation – or has been awake to the simulation this whole time – and is done with being treated this way by men. 

What really happened to Margaret and her son?

KiKi Layne and Florence Pugh in Don't Worry Darling

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Bunny reveals that the kids in the simulation aren't real, so when Margaret's son goes missing in the desert, it probably means that he's just been deleted from the simulation. What's less clear, though, is what exactly happens to Margaret. 

We see her die by suicide, but it's not explicitly stated if women also die in reality if they die in the simulation – Bunny just says the men do. So, we're left to wonder if Margaret's death in Victory means she escaped to the real world, or if that killed her real body, too. 

Does Bunny know what's going on the whole time? Which characters know about the Victory Project?

Olivia Wilde in Don't Worry Darling

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

All of the men in the movie are aware of the truth the entire time because they all leave the simulation at the start of the working day and return at the end. The only woman who knows what's going on is Bunny. She chooses to stay in Victory because, in the real world, her children are no longer alive. That means she knew all along that Margaret wasn't really delusional and had actually uncovered the truth, but Bunny doesn't reveal the extent of her knowledge until Alice kills Jack. Bunny wants to keep Alice safe so tells her to leave, because she'll be killed otherwise. 

Do the women also die outside of the simulation?

Florence Pugh in Don't Worry Darling

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

This isn't fully explained. Bunny only says that, when a man dies in Victory, he also dies in real life. There's no reason that wouldn't also extend to women, but considering Margaret's death is covered up with the explanation that she just had a fall, it's possible that the plan was to eventually re-introduce her to Victory. In that case, she'd still be alive. 

Women have a different status in the simulation, as all the men have their memories and know what's going on, while the women are oblivious. So, it's possible that the women can survive fatal injuries while the men can't, since they're clearly not on the same level in the simulation itself. It's left a mystery, but there's evidence pointing in both directions. 

What happened to the plane? 

Florence Pugh in Don't Worry Darling

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

The plane crash that Alice witnesses – the one that leads her to first touch the Victory headquarters – is never explained. It could just be the simulation glitching, which would explain why Alice finds nothing when she goes out to the desert. Jack denies the crash ever even happened, too. Margaret also saw something that lured her out to the desert, though, but whether it was a plane crash or not is not revealed. Why exactly the simulation would glitch in this way is unexplained.

Why doesn't the computer program do something to stop Alice? 

Florence Pugh in Don't Worry Darling

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Not a lot about the computer program that powers Victory is revealed. When Alice is escaping, the simulation itself doesn't stop her – her car doesn't randomly stop working, or the roads don't vanish, for example – which would suggest the simulation is programmed a certain way by someone. 

That person is probably Frank, but since he was inside Victory when Alice was escaping, he couldn't do anything from the outside to stop her. But, Alice does have a vision of Jack hugging her and hesitates. This could be the simulation's last-ditch effort to stop her from leaving, as Jack is dead at this point, but Alice carries on. 

Are the red men all part of the program? Is the bus driver part of the program? 

Florence Pugh in Don't Worry Darling

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

It would seem that the nameless men in red who apprehend Alice and try to stop her from escaping are part of the simulation – something like the Agents seen in The Matrix, most likely. The same probably goes for the bus driver, who appears to just drive his vehicle in a loop from the shopping mall back to the neighborhood. Men have to leave the simulation to work real jobs and earn money to pay to stay in Victory, so unless the bus driver leaves overnight, it would seem he's an NPC (non-playable character) and nothing more. 

What are the weird earthquakes, are they just the men going back into the real world? 

Harry Styles in Don't Worry Darling

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Massive earthquakes frequently shake Victory, but the women are used to them and quickly grab anything in danger of falling. The reason behind these quakes is never revealed, and one happens when the women are shopping together during the day – no men are in the simulation at that moment – while another happens in the evening after the men have returned. Again, this could be the simulation glitching, or an update to the program, or something similar. Considering the timings, though, it's unlikely to be the men leaving and re-entering.

Who are the mysterious dancers Alice keeps seeing in her visions?

Florence Pugh and Gemma Chan in Don't Worry Darling

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Alice sees women dancing together throughout the film. It's later revealed that these images are projected onto a canopy whenever someone leaves or enters Victory, seemingly as some kind of hypnosis method. Alice first sees them when she touches the HQ the first time – AKA when she first leaves the simulation – and then they reappear from there. It appears she's just getting flashbacks to her continued attempts to leave the simulation. Of course, dancing itself is very much about having control over your body, so it seems to be hinting at a deeper meaning of control over oneself and the controlling nature of the simulation. 

If you're all caught up on Don't Worry Darling, see our guide to all the upcoming major movie release dates to plan your next theater trip. 

Fay Watson
Deputy Entertainment Editor

I’m the Deputy Entertainment Editor here at GamesRadar+, covering TV and film for the Total Film and SFX sections online. I previously worked as a Senior Showbiz Reporter and SEO TV reporter at Express Online for three years. I've also written for The Resident magazines and Amateur Photographer, before specializing in entertainment.

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