Barbie- A Look Into Existentialism, Consumerism, and Womanhood
With one of the most celebrated marketing ever for a film helmed by a female director, Barbie was a film I was really rooting for over the last couple of weeks. While a film about a Barbie doll would may seem like it is a chick-flick, summer film, a film by Greta Gerwig could never just limit itself to that.
Greta’s version of Barbie discusses some more profound thoughts on existentialism in the modern world, consumerism, and the idea of womanhood in the current world. She does all this retaining the innate colorful tonality of the Barbie dolls. But during the second half, a slightly derailed me might have had some mildly concerning thoughts (decoding that at the end of this blog post).
Greta Gerwig’s Barbie is one of the most inventive and unhinged storytelling I have seen in recent times. The very idea of a Barbie doll going to the real world and getting an identity crisis had me all hooked. It’s insane! The movie is full of ideational enthusiasm and is a visual extravaganza.
The beauty of Barbie and Barbie Land
Everything is perfect in Barbie Land. A bunch of Barbies live their best lives every day, dancing around in perfectly synchronized choreographies and having sleepovers, thinking about how they have inspired generations of young girls to dream and be anything they want to be. But one fine day Stereotypical Barbie (a wonderful Margot Robbie!) starts to feel something different.
Her feet get flat and she starts to think about death. On closer inspection, she comes to know that there’s a girl out there in the real world who is intertwining her miseries with her Barbie doll. Stereotypical Barbie has no other option but to go to the real world and fix this up and thus begins the adventure. On this adventure, joining her is Ken (an even amazing Ryan Gosling) whose sole purpose of existence is to get attention from Barbie.
The things that happen to these life-sized dolls, which is the polar opposite experience for them from their lives at barbie land, form the most entertaining and hilarious events of the film. Ken being wowed by the idea of patriarchy, and Barbie getting chased by the Mattel employees are some of my favorite scenes from the film and I laughed my heart out.
There is so much detailing in the way Greta has given life to Barbie. In the candy-colored Barbie Land the Barbies shower without water, and drink from an empty cup, and the beach waves are still, just like how these dolls and associated accessories are packaged in real life. Barbie’s struggle to drink a cup of tea when in the real world was a simple scene but so impactful in terms of giving proper traits to the character.
The Perfect Casting
I dare you to show me a better casting than Barbie! Everyone is just too good in their extended or limited appearance on the screen. Margot Robbie as Stereotypical Barbie is a dream. I couldn’t think of anyone else as Barbie. The brilliance of Margot as an actor lies in how she embodies the body language of Barbie. The way she walks, the way she sits, the way she smiles, the way she talks, everything made her look like a real life-sized Barbie doll. Topping it up is Ryan Gosling as Ken. With his innocent quirks and desperation to get Barbie’s attention, everything just wins us over.
I remember Greta Gerwig saying in an interview about how the actors took their characters seriously is what made them organically funny. After watching the film, I understand what she is saying.
America Ferrera’s monologue on the impossibilities of being a woman is going down in history as one of the most hard-hitting monologues of the century.
A blip in the second half
After an entertaining first half, the second half of Barbie threw me off track a little. It did not carry the high of the first half. Everything said and discussed in the second half was indeed unique and inspiring, but there was just too much of it that I did not get enough time to process all of it.
People calling the film “anti-men” have misinterpreted the movie. Ken is representative of the pressures of toxic masculinity thrown at men and how it gets the best of them. Everything about this is said in the song, “I’m Just Ken”, another visually captivating song sequence in the film.
Apart from an overwhelming second half, I loved Barbie. It is an unhinged, inventive, candy-colored humanist fable that needs to be watched. It fills my heart with joy to see a film by a female storyteller setting the cash register and earning a place in history.
I can’t stop talking about films, so I blog!
I started The FourthWall, my film blog, to share my thoughts on films and shows with fellow movie buffs, and over the years it has become my happy place. Come join in for some interesting conversations on cinema… and sometimes books and fashion!