Barbie Movie Review: After months of waiting, and forming a literal internet phenomenon called “Barbenheimer”, both Barbie and Oppenheimer were released in the theatres on the 21st of July. Fans had already pre-booked the tickets for their favourite (or both of them) and initial reactions had started pouring on the internet.
As I walked into the theatre, I had high expectations from the movie because well Greta Gerwig is the director and writer and those who have watched her past works like Little Women and Ladybird know that the lady has the power to weave magic in her movies.
The cinematography was exceptional. The filmmaker made sure to pay attention to the trivial details to bring out the overall effect of being in Barbie land. Everything is made of plastic- and you can see that the sequences are set in a way that it feels like a part of children playing with their own dolls. There is no doubt about it that Barbie has stunning visuals and brought out the expected experience for the audience.
Barbie Movie Review:
Margot Robbie as Barbie is amazing too but Ryan Gosling’s performance deserves more attention. Nevertheless, both of them had shown their range as actors since this movie was very different from what they have explored till now. Compare Harley Quinn’s character to Barbie and you know what we are talking about.
The plot opens in a feminist utopia called Barbieland where Barbies could be anything they want to be and the men of their world called “Ken ” do not have much to do except stand at the beach and well entertain the Barbies while being side characters the entire time. It is a hilarious yet profound take on the patriarchal society that we live in where in Barbieland everything is reversed. Everything is perfect until Margot Robbie’s Barbie has an existential crisis because she develops thoughts about “death”, “flat feet ” and “cellulite”. After all, the person playing with her in the real world is sad.
So, Barbie and Ken travel to the real world- and here is where you will start to hear “patriarchy” thrown around every two minutes. Ken sees that in the real world, men are respected, obeyed and dominate every aspect of life. He goes back to Barbieland and convinces the guys to do the same, slowly taking over the Barbie world until the Barbie’s decide to deceive them and snatch power from them again. This is where the movie starts going downhill. With an explosive burst of amazing concepts, the only disappointing part of the movie is it doesn’t remain the same till the end.
The long dance performance of Ryan Gosling’s Ken with other Kens along with a war between them diverted the attention of the audiences from where the movie initially wanted it to be, leaving them confused about the concept they strived to execute.
The dialogues are crafted exceptionally well. At one point, Ken enters a hospital and asks to perform surgery just because “he is a man.”
The irony and satire have been delivered through hilarious dialogues, and this has to be praised in the movie. It has savagery that will keep you entertained while provoking thoughts on it. Another note-worthy scene was when Gloria delivers a monologue that hits home to every woman.
For some, the idea of feminism and anti-patriarchy the movie tried to promote may seem a bit forced, like shoving it down the audience’s throat and making the entire movie about it.
But when you see Margot Robbie coming to the real world, getting stared at and even spanked by a guy and getting perplexed with the behavior of men- you wonder how all of it has been normalised for you but in an utopian world where you would not have to encounter these things as a woman, you would truly see how problematic it is.
So, for others, it can be empowering and relatable however the movie lost its depth in the middle while it salvaged some of it in the end when Ruth, the real-life creator of Barbie, met Barbie.
This was also one of the issues why Barbie could not be as profound as it could have been if it was concentrated on one of the aspects- either the bigger issue tackled or the micro-focus on Barbie’s own existential crisis. When the two blend, it gives you too many things to keep count of which will drift you away from the larger and more important message.
Greta Gerwig also made sure that Barbie is not lost in philosophical and social issues and truly adds the charm and light-heartedness you would expect from “Barbie.” John Cena featuring as Kenmaid, Gosling delivering jokes with perfect comedic timing and Barbie and Ken’s chaotic journey to the real world- all of it gives you humour to keep you entertained till the end.
Nevertheless, the conversation between Barbie and Ken is a food for thought. As Ken tries to accept the fact that he cannot connect his identity to Barbie and has to discover his own identity, we are left with the question of self-discovery. The movie raises several important questions and from what I can conclude Barbie was not about giving the right answers to those questions but stirring our minds to seek the answers ourselves. Whether you liked the movie or not, it definitely has the potential to make you think about feminism, motherhood, patriarchy, identity, consumerism and self discovery while making you laugh every now and then.
Also Read – Barbie Week: Best Margot Robbie Performances