Would I believe you if you told me that Barbie was only narrowly behind ‘Oppenheimer’ as a film attempting to make a political statement released on 7/21/23?
No, until my exiting of the theatre roughly 2 hours ago, I wouldn’t have believed you.
‘Barbie’ is a film all about ‘stereotypical Barbie’ (Margot Robbie) discovering that Barbie dolls have not made everything in the human world perfect, and dealing with misogyny in Barbieland as well as the real world.
And this film absolutely does a phenomenal job at exploring ideas of the patriarchy, self-determination/liberation as a woman, and self-confidence in a way that will be appealing to all of its demographic groups, be it teen girls or boomer women who grew up on Barbie.
I think the idea that the film explores, the idea that a perfect Barbie could be harmful to girls, is a message that corporate Mattel didn’t need to allow, but a message that is very resonant to humanity. This is something that the film as a whole generally gets right – it isn’t afraid to make criticisms or jokes at the expense of its corporate overlords.
Speaking of jokes, ‘Barbie’ is the most hysterical film I have seen in a LONG time. From this brilliantly absurd look at the concept of Barbie dolls, to the humour that the movie was able to get away with due to its PG-13 rating, to the wide array of known celebrity comedians (ex. Will Ferrell as Mattel CEO), Barbie does an amazing job at pairing a meaningful message with a sidesplitting theatre experience.
I must also say that Cornwall Ontario’s own Ryan Gosling is an absolute standout actor both comedically and emotionally as the primary ‘Ken’ of the film.
As alluded to before, the worldbuilding is hilarious, but it’s also immensely charming between the vibrant wardrobes, sparkling set designs, and lively music. Visually, sonically, and just on a greater atmospheric level, Barbie is just a blast to experience.
If I HAD to criticize this film, which is something I don’t want to do, I’d say that there’s the occasional all-too-common overdone humour or that the third act pacing can crawl at times. Because of these aspects, though, we get 95% successful humour and a strong emotional ending, respectfully.
Please do not listen to anybody calling Barbie “woke.” If wokeness is telling young women that they can be what they want to be, and you are morally opposed to ‘wokeness’, maybe this film isn’t for you. And neither is being a good person.
Watch Barbie AND Oppenheimer, enjoy the beautiful medium of art that is film, and keep it reel. Thanks for reading!