Barbie for many years has been the most famous toy associated with girlhood. It has been a dream present for little girls and the merchandise around it has generated millions. Now, around Greta Gerwig’s movie for the famous doll, very important questions arised. Feminism, equal rights, male-female domination are some of them. I would like to concentrate in some of them in our Barbie review, but also discuss the film and what it has achieved.
For more than a century, Barbie has represented the changing ideas about girls and women. It has been celebrated as a girlhood pleasure and play. I don’t think issues as feminism were widely associated with Mattel’s famous toy. At least not conciously. Barbie has been a well made toy and in many cases a collectors’ expensive item.
As far as the film goes, Barbie is considered by many Greta Gerwig’s opus magnum. From its announcement, to its premiere, it was the most anticipated film of the last years. There was such a hype around it, that the production even worried if ‘Barbie’ will meet the expectations. While I will try to avoid spoilers, I will try to discuss the different aspects of the film.
It is true that ‘Barbie’ maybe is not for everyone, but we can’t deny some of its achievements production wise. The level of detail in the sets, costumes and surreal visuals is striking. Also we have to mention the soundtrack, which has been anticipated with the same hype, as the movie itself. No matter what we think of the story, we have to at least admit that the people behind the production seem to understand perfectly the core of the story. The ways that dolls are played with is perfectly portrayed. They float from place to place, picked up and put down and there are references to older models of the doll too. Greta Gerwig seems to have created the Barbie world with great accuracy, something that its predecessors failed to do. Yes, there are older ‘Barbie’ movies. You can check them here.
Margot Robbie is the main actress and Barbie herself in the film. Although most of the reviews were positive, there are also those who criticize her acting. Moreover, some even say that she was not appropriate to act as the legendary doll. We won’t take a side here. After all, you can judge for yourself. All I want to say is, that playing in such a demanding film as the main character is worthy of applause. Margot Robbie proved to be an amazing and daring actress.
Things for Ryan Gosling (Ken), are not so different. There are those who slammed the 42 years old actor for “being too old to play Ken” and “he never cared before about Ken”. Gosling is not the only Ken actor in the film, as Simu Liu, Scott Evans, John Cena, Ncuti Gatwa and Kingsley Ben-Adir also appear as different iterations of the doll.
Barbie as a part of the ‘Woke’ movement
Many revieweres singled out the films femisist themes. Right wing media however did not get impressed by the film calling it out as “man-hating” sharade through the portrayal of Ken.
Ben Shapiro tweeted: “All you need to know about #BarbieTheMovie is that it unironically uses the word ‘patriarchy’ more than ten times,” urging his followers to leave negative reviews for Barbie if polled by CinemaScore, a market research firm that asks audience members on opening night to give a film a letter grade between A and F. In this aspect, there are those who see the film for what it is meant to be: a funny satirical movie about a girls’ toy doll. On the other hand, we can search and discuss the political ideas and movements that ‘Barbie’ tries to highlight. The choice is yours. The only thing that is certain, is that those who expect to watch a “cheesy” immature movie will find themselves surprised with what this film has achieved.