VENICE - Critics at Venice Film Festival have given their verdict on Don’t Worry Darling, Olivia Wilde’s film starring Harry Styles and Florence Pugh.

The much-talked about movie centres on Alice and Jack, a seemingly perfect couple played by Pugh and Styles whose life in an LA company town falls apart. It premiered out of competition at the festival, where The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw gave the film two stars. The Telegraph disagreed, however, awarding it four stars.

Bradshaw called the film an “unconvincing tale of dystopian suburbia” which “superciliously pinches ideas from other films without quite understanding how and why they worked in the first place”, he said.

“It is a movie marooned in a desert of unoriginality and the desert doesn’t bloom.” But while Hollywood Reporter’s Alex Ritman said the film “generated a solid seven-minute standing ovation”, the Daily Mail’s Brian Viner gave it two stars, describing Styles’ performance as a “trifle mechanical” compared with his co-star.  “The bigger problem is that Don’t Worry Darling just isn’t very good,” he continued.

“Unhelpfully, it has echoes of much better films, such as the mid-1970s classics The Stepford Wives and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, and The Truman Show (1998).”

But the Telegraph’s Robbie Collin was positive about Pugh’s performance and the “hints of Stepford in this citrus-sharp psychological thriller”.

“For a mediocre film, this could have been wounding. But happily, Wilde’s is largely fantastic: the sort of juicy but accessible studio production that have all but vanished since 1990s.”

Helen O’Hara of Empire, in a three-star review, wrote: “Pugh is superb, while Wilde confidently steps up to a bigger subject and budget to deliver a slick, beautiful film. It doesn’t quite stick the landing, but its flight to that point is fascinating.”

However, BBC Culture argued the film was an “empty shell” full of “half-baked ideas”.

“Harry Styles doesn’t feel up to the material here, with leaden line delivery and a lack of light and shade making his scenes opposite Pugh fall flat,” wrote Steph Green.