Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling
1 Hr 55 Mins
"Is the bread toast or roast?" That is the question one may find themselves asking while delving into the world of Barbie. Greta Gerwig's portrayal of the famous doll with world dominance has turned Barbie into a pop culture standard. Beyond being a mere toy, Barbie represents the epitome of 'photo perfection,' with Mattel having sculpted and dehumanized every imaginable vocation, ethnicity, and color throughout the years. The discovery of a discontinued pregnant Barbie figure adds to the intrigue of what Barbie truly stands for and the emotional connections she has with girls and boys, some of whom mirror the incessant need for validation seen in Kane.
In Barbie's world, she has infiltrated the minds of countless girls, and her counterpart, Ken, seems to exist solely for one purpose: to love and cherish her unconditionally. Ryan Gosling, who plays Ken in the film, aptly remarks, "No Ken without Barbie." However, this film is not meant for children; instead, it addresses mature subjects and cleverly incorporates humor and one-liners intended for adult audiences.
Between the real world and the Barbie universe lies another realm of possibilities that subverts traditional gender roles, exposing children to profound real-life topics. In this picture-perfect paradise of Barbie-land, where the sun shines brilliantly, and every detail is impeccably manicured, Barbie (played by Margot Robbie) awakens one day to discover her feet are flat, despite always tiptoeing around—a metaphorical representation of avoiding real-life challenges. What begins as an attempt to correct her flat feet with the help of a quirky Barbie (Kate McKinnon) evolves into a life-changing event for all the Barbies in Barbieland. Gerwig masterfully explores the 'man versus woman' dynamics and their interactions in modern society, nodding to the timeless 'Barbie vs. Ken' debate. The film resonates emotionally, with Ken embodying all the stereotypical traits expected of a man, only to return to Barbieland and learn valuable lessons from other Kens.
Humor plays a significant role in Barbie's narrative, with exceptional performances by Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie. America Ferrera, portraying a parent with a teenager, and Will Ferrell as the Mattel Boss, also deliver standout performances that make the audience root for them. Ferrera's outstanding solo song evokes applause and cheers from both men and women in the crowd. Ferrell's character, who takes on Barbie's designers in their own film, adds an unexpected yet delightful twist.
Barbie, the film, celebrates a pivotal figure in pop culture history. Gerwig's masterful use of color, from various shades of pink to pastels and blue lights, infuses the frame with childlike wonder. The soundtrack, featuring artists like Dua Lipa, Nicki Minaj, and Billie Eilish, becomes a critical component of the film's energy and emotion. Additionally, each outfit worn by Margot Robbie's Barbie is a testament to the iconic fashion houses like Chanel and deserves a place in a gallery.
Beyond exploring the concepts of gender and societal expectations, Barbie serves as a relatable figure for anyone feeling excluded, inadequate, or questioning their place in an ever-changing and diverse society. It offers a therapeutic experience without being overly serious, encouraging viewers to embrace imperfection.
Greta Gerwig's bright and bold tribute to a plastic society obsessed with perfection finds its place among cinema's halls, marking a significant event in movie history. Barbie stands not just as a symbol of pop culture but as an enduring reminder that embracing one's flaws and uniqueness can lead to a profound and empowering journey of self-discovery.