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Review: 'Darlings' is another feather on Alia Bhatt's illustrious cap - as a producer apart from acting

Darlings on Netflix has everything going right for itself - a phenomenal ensemble, engaging storyline and just the right amount of twisted turns.

Published: Friday,Aug 05, 2022 03:31 AM GMT-06:00
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Darlings

Darlings

Dark comedies are indeed the most delicious as a genre and when done right, it is insane fun. Superstar Alia Bhatt's maiden production venture, Darlings on Netflix has everything going right for itself - a phenomenal ensemble, engaging storyline and just the right amount of twisted turns. But does Darlings manage to be an exceptional commencement for Bhatt as the producer? Having had the chance to see the film before hand, here's what I thought-


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The Story & Screenplay

The Story & Screenplay

On paper and almost half way into the film, Darlings doesn't quite stand-out with the story. A docile beautiful girl succumbing into the wrath of her alcoholic abusive husband with the hope that he will change one day, especially after the arrival of their first child. There is always a sense of predictability attached to every scene till the first half where the tropes presented seem done and dusted. But it is only till the second-half that we realise that this predictability was needed to be twisting your minds as we delve deeper and deeper.

Dark Humor Being The Tool

Dark Humor Being The Tool

When humor is served in a way that makes you uncomfortable and is yet funny, that is my favourite kind. Darlings is delicious with its dark humor especially in the final 40 minutes of the film. There are memorable one-liners in the movie as well that are deep and insightful. The comedy of errors that takes place as the mother-daughter duo try to hide the fact that they have kept their son-in-law/husband hostage makes some of the funniest situations and dialogues. You know it's dark but it is also funny.

What makes these situations even funnier is the realism attached to two regular and docile women making error after error as they try to hide the fact that they have held the 'man of the house' as a hostage.

Sensitive & Poignant Way of Touching upon the Concept of Abuse

Sensitive & Poignant Way of Touching upon the Concept of Abuse

As Darlings gets into gear, it gets you irked and looking away from the screen at multiple instances. The scenes of domestic abuse are uncomfortable, difficult and intentionally brutal as well. But even then, the line of getting gory with the graphics isn't crossed. It ends up being a poignant and sensitive approach of showing domestic abuse. You are meant to hate the character of Hamza (Vijay Varma) to that extent that you want something bad to happen to him, and doing that, it succeeds.

Clever Motifs & Characterisation

Clever Motifs & Characterisation

Darlings has such a clever manner of having a running joke - in this case, an egg becomes the object of recurrence. The egg and omelette are a constantly running motif where the food item almost plays an important character in itself having witnessed literally everything from the beginning to the end. The placement of the same is also not forced where it is incorporated in the smartest of ways right from watching a husband violently hit his wife to being the meal of the same abducted husband and an excuse placed as a joke when telling a fake story to the boss of that husband.

Brilliant Performances

Brilliant Performances

It might have already been a given as when you assemble some of the finest actors present in the business today, you are only bound to get nothing but excellence. Even Roshan Matthew, who barely has any shades initially, gets a full arc and does a fine job and the veteran powerhouse that is Shefali Shah, she lends the perfect support to the leading lady also getting her own arc in the climax. Vijay Varma, though is the stand-out from the cast apart from Alia Bhatt as he makes sure that you hate him, you detest him and there are almost no redemption qualities for him. Varma is in fine fettle and this is easily his best performance.

Alia Bhatt

Alia Bhatt

But leading the whole lot is THE Alia Bhatt. The actor just never seems to stepping any foot wrong when it comes to her acting chops. It is amazing to imagine that this woman played a towering mafia lady in Gangubai Kathiawadi just earlier this year and has effortlessly transformed into a timid and submissive wife in the first half of this film. Bhatt is at her best as always and she excels with absolute conviction in every scene. Alia freaking Bhatt - you are a force!

Minor Hindrances

Minor Hindrances

There are only a few things that act as hindrances in this otherwise twisted and dark tale - and one of them is the runtime. At 2 hours 14 minutes, it isn't that Darlings is too long per se but the entire build-up to the second-half of the film seems a tad stretched. A couple of other instances in the film which include plot twists especially in the climax seem convenient. This, however, isn't a major concern as such.

The Verdict

In the end, Darlings is a finely crafted dark comedy coupled with brilliant performances making for engaging storyline and a satisfying experience. 

Rating - **** (4/5)

Comments (4)

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priya185
priya185 6 days ago Alia is good but not as great as the writer suggests. Her nose was flaring and crying scenes were poor
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Mad_Maxx
Mad_Maxx 6 days ago Is it *that* good?
Reply Show Responses (2) thumbs-up 0 thumbs-down 0
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