Greta Gerwig has created a masterpiece that celebrates sisterhood and feminity. Pair the visuals, narrative, and performances with a vibrant soundtrack and you have the perfect combination. Barbie goes all in on every aspect to create a blockbuster for all ages.
Hi Barbie, ready to enter the world of Barbieland? A land of pink, perfection, feminism, and dreams. From the moment the Barbie movie was announced it has been surrounded by an extreme amount of hype and excitement. This excitement built with the trailers and reached unmatched levels during the PR tour, with what feels like every brand collaborating with Barbie. The PR tour also saw Margot Robbie (Barbie) dressed in a spectacular array of Barbie fashions, which will no doubt transition into late 2023 or early 2024 fashion trends.
Yet, despite all the hype, I went into the film still rather unclear what to expect. After all, what do you expect from a live-action movie based on a toy? Even if that toy was your childhood favorite? Well, last night I got to experience the wonder that is the Barbie movie in all its specular glory! This is a must-watch cinema event!
Meet the stereotypical Barbie (Margot Robbie) as she has the best day. Today, yesterday, tomorrow, and even Wednesday because every day in Barbieland is perfect. Barbie is surrounded by other Barbies. The core of which is played by: Issa Rae, Hari Nef, Alexandra Shipp, Emma Mackey, Dua Lipa, Nicola Coughlan, Ritu Arya, Sharon Rooney, and Ana Cruz Kayne. Joining Barbie is Ken (Ryan Gosling) and he is surrounded by other Kens played by Simu Liu, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Scott Evans, Ncuti Gatwa, and John Cena. Allan (Michael Cera) and Midge (Emerald Fennell) are there too, although poor Allan doesn’t fit in with the Barbies or the Kens.
We join Barbie in what can only be described as the most perfectly insane narrative. Barbie, facing an extensional crisis is forced to visit the real world, to cure her thoughts of death and her suddenly flat feet. I was never quite sure where the narrative was heading, a healthy number of twists are mixed in with the insanity for a truly hilarious cinema experience.
Barbie went beyond the twists and the laughs however to provide us with an insightful, self-aware film. One that sees not only Barbie on a journey of discovery but human mother and daughter, Gloria (America Ferrera) and Sasha (Ariana Greenblatt) right there alongside her. Ken takes on his own misguided journey of discovery that runs juxtaposed to Barbie’s, as he transitions from the female-led empowering world of Barbieland to the reality of the world we live in. The film acts as a teachable narrative to both its male and female viewers. But without being uncomfortably preachy.
Robbie is faultless in her role, bringing Barbie to life seamlessly. She does not play the character but rather becomes her, a tough job considering everyone that has ever played with a Barbie has their own perceptions of who she is. Gosling is hilarious in his portrayal of Ken, who actually has very little personality beyond knowing Barbie. A fact that is touched on throughout the film. Who is Ken besides being the doll that always took the assistant role in any Barbie scenario?
Part of the charm of the movie lies in the visuals. Every detail is meticulously curated, the result a visual spectacle. Costume designer Jacqueline Durran ensures that Barbie is dressed perfectly at all times, costumes transitioning to sync with whatever activity/situation she finds herself in. Taking inspiration from the dolls throughout history, Brigitte Bardot and the French Riviera as well as pulling pieces from the archives of Chanel. The costumes are so perfect, I can see a Barbie fashion revolution happening.
Combined with the costumes is the set. Set designer Sarah Greenwood and decorator Katie Spencer found a way to create Barbieland without it looking tacky. In fact, the final product we see on screen is nothing but a dreamy, sanitized world full of color, style, and dimension. After watching you’ll find yourself wishing to live in your very own dream house. Pair the visuals, narrative, and acting with a vibrant soundtrack and you have the perfect combination. This film goes all in on every aspect to create a blockbuster for all ages.
Greta Gerwig has created a masterpiece that celebrates sisterhood and feminity. Bringing to life the iconic doll that taught so many of us to dream and believe that anything is possible. Some still believe that she is the representation of unrealistic expectations. But what Barbie truly is, is an invitation to dream. A doll that teaches children that the possibilities are endless, that no matter who you are you can be whoever you want to be. The movie showcases this. The film has cemented the character as a feminist icon of the 21st century. And I have just found my newest favorite film.
Barbie is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures and arrives in cinemas on Friday!
Will you be taking a detour into Greta Gerwig’s dream world? Sound off in the comments section below.