In a Summer of hotly anticipated film releases, Barbie is the most anticipated of all. I donned my pinkest dress and went to see it yesterday, and have to say it is everything I wanted it to be – very pink, very funny and with lots of wry things to say about both the patriarchy and feminism. I’ve rated Greta Gerwig as a director since I watched her brilliant version of Little Women, and have to say that this is a masterpiece, a really clever film that has you laughing out loud one minute, and nodding along the next. One stand out scene is when Barbie goes to the beach, to be greeted by all the other Barbie’s (and Ken’s) showing that Barbie comes in all guises, in all shapes and sizes, and can be black or white. Add in the brilliance of Margot Robbie, frankly the only person in the world who could play the stereotypical Barbie, the hilarious Ryan Gosling as the ultimate ‘himbo’ Ken, and America Ferrera (always so brilliant in Ugly Betty) as the grown up Barbie fan who is the catalyst to the whole movie, and you have the perfect Summer viewing package.
I love everything about this movie, from the fact that Margot starts off the film as the original 1958 Barbie, encouraging little girls to throw away the dolls that only encouraged them to play ‘mama’, to the idea that Barbie was a feminist ideal, performing every job and role, including going into Space in the 1960’s. I love the idea that Barbie showed that brains and beauty did not have to be an either/or situation, but, at the same time, that this perfect specimen in doll form also placed more unrealistic goals on women – who could ever live up to stereotypical Barbie’s vision of beauty? All of this, and more, is discussed in this film, as well as other ideas that are discussed through the discarded dolls, and cellulite and flat feet.
The full cinema shows that Barbie is attracting huge audiences, and the fact that it is upsetting the likes of Piers Morgan can’t be a bad thing. The fact that it is visually stunning (oh my, those dream houses are my childhood dreams come true), and that the costumes are just perfect eye candy for all the little girls, and the now big girls who loved Barbie just makes this a film that absolutely delights on all levels and for all ages. 2023 is turning out to be a pink Summer, and I, for one, love this.