HomeEntertainmentBarbie Review | Movie Metropolis

Barbie Review | Movie Metropolis

Upon first hearing about the Barbie movie, anybody above the age of thirteen likely met the news with an eye roll, a sigh or perhaps even an exasperated comment about the decline in original content being produced by the film industry (the latter, possibly, having escaped my own mouth).

But then, you find out it’s going to be directed by Greta Gerwig. Best known for being the writer and director of the 2019 remake of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel Little Women and her Golden Globe winning coming-of-age comedy Ladybird, Gerwig is renowned for making films which, at the very least, are classed as being feministic. To hear she was directing the Barbie movie felt almost as shocking as discovering Vladimir Putin was starring in the next season of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

If you’re still wondering why Gerwig would be caught dead directing a film about a doll that’s imposed unrealistic standards of beauty onto young women for over six decades, what you instead need to ask yourself is ‘how is Gerwig planning on using the Barbie film to cleverly unpick the rampant sexism within a male dominated industry’? The answer: with the help of Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling.

In a rare feat of perfect casting, the plot follows Robbie as one of the many Barbies in Barbieland, aptly dubbed the ‘stereotypical Barbie’. When one day she suddenly finds herself invaded by existential thoughts, horrifically flat feet and thighs tarnished by the grotesque appearance of- gasp– cellulite, stereotypical Barbie is forced to venture beyond the realms of her reality and into the real world to restore balance, where things there are a tad less matriarchal than she expects.

Margot Robbie in Barbie

The hardest part of creating a feminist Barbie film is finding a way to critique the antiquated elements of the doll’s original concept without demonising the Barbies in the movie. As much as we as a contemporary audience may scoff at the blonde hair, pink uniform, and racial normatively of the original figurine’s design, many women harbour an undeniable fondness for these dolls that still permeate so many of our childhood memories. It may sound odd, but we find ourselves yearning for Barbie to become better.

Luckily, Robbie’s performance as the sweetly ignorant bombshell offers us just that, as her innocence slowly curdles into real character depth over the film’s runtime. Interestingly, the narrative feels grounded by the fact that, despite it’s subject matter, Barbie feels like another one of Gerwig’s classic coming-of-age dramas at heart.

Whilst the dominant discussions surrounding this film are certainly going to be on Gerwig’s portrait of modern womanhood, I found that one of my favourite parts of Barbie was actually just how unexpectedly hilarious it was. Every joke comes with a laugh and a quick stab to the metaphorical funny bone as you realise that much of the comedy is so fantastic it is entirely wasted on a younger audience. I don’t think anyone other than Will Ferrell could’ve played the CEO of Mattel with such absurdity that, what could’ve easily become a character too painfully real to be funny, is instead a comedic gem amidst the hot pink chaos.

Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling clearly had so much fun as Barbie and Ken, with Barbie’s honest oblivion always a pleasure to giggle at. But Gosling’s Ken had me continuously reeling through his facial expressions alone. The insane drama he indulges in towards the end of the film was a gift that kept on giving with ludicrous bouts of PG-13 battles, epic dance choreography and even his own musical number.

Much of the comedy is not acted though, but rather it is latent in the world itself. Because of the costumes and the set design, satire is embedded in every single shot. Rather than initially attempt to translate the Barbie dolls into a real world setting, Gerwig hilariously chooses to mimic the familiar restrictions foisted upon any inanimate toy.

Where does Barbie live? A wall-less play house where a hand could reach through at any moment to reposition its occupants. How does she eat her waffles? Barbie doesn’t have a stomach silly- she just pretends! Having a setting which reinforces that Barbie is indeed a doll, an idea of femininity rather than an actual woman, is certainly a decision that greatly emphasises the themes of the film early on.

The Barbie movie’s release feels like a cultural landmark not simply because it coincided with Nolan’s Oppenheimer, but because it uses the disparity between our relationship with the Barbie doll when it was originally manufactured in 1959 and our relationship with it now to chart the progression of feminism over the past half a century.

Rather than glorify Barbie, Gerwig scrutinises the damaging social effects the brand has had throughout its shelf-life; and in doing so manages to, at least partially, reclaim Barbie as a symbol of female empowerment. Whilst I think some elements of the ending were a little bit counterintuitive to the culture of equality that the film seems to advocate for, I think it overall manages to deliver an incredibly important message to impressionable young women, and one that I think the industry as a whole needs to hear. After all, humans only have one ending, but ideas live forever.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Source link


Most Popular

Recent Comments