Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, replete with brilliant concepts and striking imagery, offers a captivating experience. The opening, reminiscent of 2001: A Space Odyssey, sees young girls discarding their baby dolls for the new grown-up doll with long hair and alluring features. This unexpected start sets the stage for the adventure that follows.
A Dive into Barbieland
A transition leads us into the vibrant and matriarchal world of Barbieland. This society is teeming with Barbies of various profiles, ranging from a President Barbie to a Supreme Court Justice Barbie and a Nobel Prize-winning Barbie. The Barbie dolls, with arched toes and feet that seem to never touch the ground, glide through Barbieland, while the Ken dolls aimlessly compete for their attention. The world of Barbieland is a complex tapestry, with characters like Stereotypical Barbie, Ken, and “Just Allan”, who offer layers of intriguing narrative.
Engaging Performances and Unexpected Twists
Margot Robbie, in her role as Stereotypical Barbie, offers a compelling performance that captivates audiences, while Ryan Gosling shines with his humor and exaggerated portrayal of Ken. Following a day filled with joy and fun, the story takes a surprising turn when Barbie begins to question the concept of death, leading to a series of unprecedented events that disrupt Barbie’s perfect life.
Meeting “Weird Barbie” and the Journey to the Real World
Barbie’s journey takes her to the eccentric “Weird Barbie,” who gives her the daunting task of entering the “real world” to ease the pain of her human owner. This is where Barbie, accompanied by Ken, embarks on a psychedelic journey through a vibrant dream world, leading them to Venice Beach.
A Jarring Encounter with Reality
Barbie and Ken’s arrival at Venice Beach starkly contrasts the utopian world of Barbieland. The real world presents a different power dynamic, where women are relegated to secondary roles, much like the Ken dolls in Barbieland. This discovery propels Barbie to find her human, Sasha, a rebellious young girl who has outgrown her Barbie doll.
Barbie and the Corporate Pursuit
While trying to navigate the complexities of the real world, Barbie and Ken find themselves pursued by the ominous suits from Mattel, who fear that Barbie’s presence in the real world will lead to chaos. Despite the hurdles, Barbie returns to Barbieland, but finds it transformed into a Ken-centric society, a drastic shift from her previous feminist utopia.
Will Barbie Triumph? A Riveting Conclusion
The final act poses some engaging questions: Can Barbie salvage Barbieland from this new oppressive regime? Will Barbie and Ken’s relationship evolve? Will Sasha and her mother reconcile? While these are compelling plot points, the real joy lies in the film’s delightful narrative. That said, the movie’s attempt at messaging about patriarchy and gender stereotypes could have been subtler. Some speeches were excessive, especially when the narrative already adeptly highlights these issues.
Barbie as a Brand and Mattel’s Influence
Barbie strikes a fair balance, celebrating the iconic doll’s evolution while subtly criticizing the all-male executives at Mattel. The film ends on a note that suggests a reasonable level of creative control for Gerwig and her team.
The Final Verdict: A Must-Watch Film
Greta Gerwig’s Barbie offers an entertaining, laugh-out-loud experience that will delight audiences. The film, though not without its flaws, is a delightful journey into the world of Barbie and merits at least one viewing.
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