Barbie: Is life in plastic truly fantastic?
Greta Gerwig's Barbie is a delightful cinematic portal that takes viewers back to their childhood and captures the essence of what it's like playing with the iconic doll. As a dedicated fan and collector of Barbie merchandise, I felt ecstatic watching the movie on the opening day alongside a theatre full of enthusiastic fans dressed in pink.
The movie opens with Barbie being depicted as a symbol of perfection for young girls and then transitions to its central plot about her "malfunctioning" because of how her human may be playing with her.
The movie pays homage to Mattel's classic franchise in every possible way through its art direction, costumes and sets. Additionally, all the hallmarks of the original dollhouse are present in Barbie's Dream House – plastic furniture, a waterless pool and shower, plastic and 2D food, and a magical closet. After all, "no one makes their Barbies walk down the stairs," so Barbie just floats down the roof to her pink Corvette and Camper.
As for the casting, the movie deserves a chef's kiss. Margot Robbie's versatility made her the perfect fit to play the "stereotypical" Barbie, who goes from being the ideal person to experiencing life's emotional turmoils.
Ryan Gosling's portrayal of Ken, a neglected character with issues of self-awareness and masculinity, is nuanced and compelling. Elsewhere, America Ferrera's speech about women's struggle to assert agency due to internalised misogyny brought many of us to tears.
Ruth and Barbara Handler's brief cameos were also delightful, as was Helen Mirren's narration, creating several unforgettable moments and bringing the film to life. In the scene where Barbie begins to question her self-worth after learning that her brand has failed to empower and protect young women, Mirren counters with, "We should not have cast Margot Robbie in this role."
Last but not least, Greta does not shy away from addressing the brand's problematic history by portraying Mattel's CEO as a symbol of patriarchy who tries to box Barbie up.
I think what makes the movie so compelling is that it challenges and busts common myths about Barbie by drawing parallels between the fantasy world and the real world, especially when it comes to beauty standards. Given Greta Gerwing's track record, it is safe to assume that the global enthusiasm for Barbie will last for a while because the first live-action Barbie movie was a treat in every aspect.
Has been yelling a lot; pacify her - [email protected]