“Pugh has never turned in a bad performance, bringing emotion, texture, and richness to everything from ‘Lady Macbeth’ to ‘Little Women’ and ‘Midsommar,'” writes IndieWire’s Kate Erbland in her review of “Don’t Worry Darling”: the psychological thriller-turned-PR disaster that’s dominated Hollywood rubbernecking in summer 2022.
“She excels at turning her characters — all women on the verge — into fully realized people, unafraid to tap into their worst impulses alongside their most admirable ones.”
In director Olivia Wilde’s “Don’t Worry Darling,” Pugh plays mid-century housewife Alice Chambers in what many critics have dismissed as a run-of-the-mill suburban dystopia drama. (Erbland remarked on its “baffling storytelling choices made worse by the revolting intentions behind them,” which in and out of context doesn’t sound good.)
The film’s premiere this weekend closes out weeks of tabloid drama (though new developments broke Friday morning, which could spell weeks more.) But for Pugh, whose performance has nevertheless been widely praised, it’s the latest in a string of unabashed big screen wins.
Pugh made her acting debut with a supporting performance in Carol Morley’s “The Falling,” which premiered at the BFI London Film Festival in 2014. In 2017, the then 20-year-old actress would break out as the complicated and violent anchor of William Oldroyd’s TIFF competitor “Lady Macbeth.” Pugh’s watershed career moment came not long after, with parts in “The Commuter,” “Malevolent,” and “Outlaw King” the following year.
Ari Aster’s “Midsommar” marked a turning point for Pugh, whose kaleidoscopic starring performance became a breakout pop culture moment in 2019. Shortly thereafter, Pugh played Amy March for Greta Gerwig’s 2019 adaptation of “Little Women.” That same year, she played opposite Dwayne Johnson in the wrestling dramedy “Fighting with my Family.” Since then, Pugh joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Yelena Belova for “Black Widow” with plans to reprise the role for future films — including “Thunderbolts” — and Disney+ series like “Hawkeye.”
To honor the whirlwind summer of “Don’t Worry Darling” drama, IndieWire looks back at Pugh’s impeccable onscreen track record. With 10 films in eight years, it’s a wonder Miss Flo gave us so much to judge.
Note: The following titles have been ranked by the quality of Pugh’s performance as opposed to general quality of the film.